Soli Organic Announces Partnerships With Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and Koidra; Dr. Tessa Pocock, Dr. James Simon, and Ken Tran Discuss
ROCKINGHAM, VA - Sowing the seeds of growth over the past few months, Soli Organic is on track for expansion throughout 2022. Further bolstering its blueprint for success, the soil-based, controlled environment agriculture (CEA) company announced two new partnerships with plant breeding experts at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and AI tech provider Koidra, that will work to enhance its cost advantage while improving unit economics and supporting the development of its consumer brand.
"Soli Organic is relentless in our pursuit of technologies and partnerships that support our vision to offer our retailer partners and consumers nationwide a variety of nutrient-dense, differentiated fresh products in a manner that maximizes profitability while minimizing environmental impact,” said Dr. Tessa Pocock, Chief Science Officer of Soli Organic. “Our cost advantage is rooted in superior unit economics tied to growing science and operational know-how—our ‘grow-how.’ The deep expertise and insights offered by the cutting-edge technologists at Koidra and the team at Rutgers University will help us further enhance this cost advantage over time. As a result, we continue to be well-positioned to build on our recent market growth and financial performance, keeping our organic produce affordable for consumers nationwide.”
In its new multi-year partnership with Rutgers School of Environmental Sciences, Soli Organic will work alongside plant breeding experts to advance the next generation of commercial organic, indoor-grown produce, according to a release. Together, the partners will use state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation to look at produce seed genetics and identify and optimize flavor, aroma, nutrition, and yield trains for indoor cultivation.
In addition to analyzing genetics of these commodities, the pair will also explore opportunities to bring new types of produce to market that, while not feasible for commercial organic outdoor cultivation, may be grown organically indoors. With this approach, these offerings would offer ideal flavor, nutrition, and yield characteristics for the sector.
“Of the over 400,000 plant species on the planet, we consume less than 100. We have not even scratched the surface of the different flavors and textures of plants. What will be key to a sustainable future is identifying plants that offer consumers the highest nutrient density combined with flavor, texture, and ‘shelf appeal’ and the lowest possible environmental impact,” explained Dr. James (Jim) Simon, Director of the Rutgers New Use Agriculture and Natural Plant Products Program. “Our research and partnership with Soli Organic is an important step in identifying applications for cost-efficient indoor plant growth, with the intention of bringing products from breeding concept to produce aisles over the next five years.”
Further tapping into advancing innovation, Soli Organic is adopting technologies based on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), which allow the company’s indoor farms to run autonomously. This leads to the grower’s latest partnership with AI and Internet of Things (IoT) company Koidra, enabling the grower to make data-driven decisions using cutting-edge ML.
Backed by plant scientists, growers, and Chief Technology Officer Ken Tran, who bring years of AI and ML experience, Koidra won the 2018 and first phase of the 2021 Autonomous International Greenhouse Challenge organized by Wageningen University in the Netherlands. In the competition, Koidra’s sensing, data collection, and AI crop-based predictive algorithms were able to increase yields, profitability, consistency, predictability, and resource use efficiency.
“As the CEA sector continues to grow and production capacities expand, we couldn’t be prouder at Koidra to be working with an industry leader like Soli Organic to improve yields and resource use efficiencies,” commented Tran. “We’re confident that our digital crop monitoring platforms and AI-based climate control technologies, combined with Soli Organic’s decades of experience growing high-quality organic produce, will significantly enhance the company’s ability to provide affordable and sustainably produced indoor-grown produce to consumers everywhere.”
With these new partners at its side, how will Soli Organic drive forward the evolution of the CEA sector? Keep clicking on AndNowUKnow to find out.