PRESSING AHEAD: $60 million robotics enabled farming facility to commence this year

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Eye Witness News

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Plans for a $60 million investment in an 80,000 sq ft robotics-enabled facility on Gladstone Road which will be able to grow up to two million pounds of produce annually are set to get underway this year, according to the principals of Eeden Farms.  

Lincoln Deal II, co-founder of Eeden Farms told Eyewitness News that the development will be “transformational” not only for The Bahamas but the wider region.

“We have raised significant funding for the project, and this is the year we are going to press forward,” said Deal.

“We started with Eeden Farms at the height of the pandemic. We brought the first container in during the lockdown and so we’re going on to our third year with this vertical farming model. I think the pandemic really heightened the need for purchasing consistently fresh produce. Providing a quality product consistently we have found to be the recipe for success. Since we came to the market, we have seen that there is a huge need for fresh produce. There is a lot of pent-up demand from the wholesalers and retailers,” said Deal. 

Deal noted that Eeden Farms currently utilizes three repurposed shipping containers equivalent to 15 acres of farmland and offers fresh organic produce year-round. Its farm system was created by Boston-based Freight Farms, the world’s leading manufacturer of container farm technology. Deal noted that the company’s current staff is comprised primarily of young women with degrees in areas such as biodiversity, chemistry, and sustainability. 

“Since 2021 we have been focusing on our second phase which is Eeden Acres which is an 80,000 sq ft facility on Gladstone Road. We will be able to grow up to two million pounds of produce on a yearly basis. That will be a vertical farm, with artificial intelligence and some of the best technology on the market. It’s exciting. Our joint venture partners have been working with us for almost two years now trying to ensure that everything is ready, and the market is ripe. We have met with so many industry stakeholders. There is general excitement for what’s coming. I think we would be the first in the region to introduce an indoor facility of this scale.” 

While not wanting to confirm an exact date for the commencement of the project just yet, Deal assured that he and Eeden Farms co-founder, Carlos Palacious, are moving forward with the initiative this year. Palacious’ firm BRON Ltd is carrying out the architectural and site plans for the facility.

Although their project is not government-funded, Deal acknowledged that Prime Minister Philip Davis along with the Minister for Agriculture, Marine Resources, and Family Island Affairs Clay Sweeting have been very supportive of their efforts. 

“This project is really going to be something transformational for not just The Bahamas but the region,” said Deal, noting that the harnessing of robotics and artificial intelligence in the growing process has significant appeal to young Bahamians who could be enticed into a career in agriculture. He also noted that the company’s farming method tackles longstanding issues of climate, soil quality, and other variables which have impacted traditional farming in the country. 

Deal noted that while Eeden Farms has been growing a variety of lettuces, specialty herbs, kale, arugula, and cilantro, the Gladstone Road facility will also see the harvesting of berries such as strawberries and blueberries.