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Local Indoor Robotics Farm Expands And Sells Its Technology Worldwide

Ann Thompson
These 80 Acres herbs are for sale at Jungle Jim's. Other customers include Whole Foods and Kroger.

Robots may be helping to grow your salad greens. WVXU first told you about 80 Acres Farms when it had a single location in Spring Grove Village. Now it's expanded to Hamilton and is intent on helping others recreate its indoor robotic farming.

With each new location CEO Mike Zelkind expands his use of robotics. A 55-foot high, 70,000-square-foot building is under construction at Enterprise Park. 80 Acres Farms says it will be the nation's first fully automated indoor farm and a training ground for others.

Credit 80 Acres Farms
Robot "Sam" harvests plants at one of three facilities in Hamilton.

A new company, Infinite Farms, has partnered with Holland's Priva and the same robotic company Kroger has teamed with, Ocado.

"It's incredible technology and it will enable others not to spend tens of millions of dollars to repeat all of our mistakes and we also believe it's important to find the right partners because there's no one company that can do all of it," Zelkind says.

Infinite Farms has announced it will build an indoor robotic farm in China.

In Hamilton, just across the street from what will be the fully automated farm, Zelkind tests new technology with plans to grow herbs full-time. Right now robots there harvest leafy greens. The fully automated farm is expected to grow a couple million pounds of leafy greens once it's built.

Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU
From left: Board Member Roger Billingsley, CEO Mike Zelkind and VP of Marketing Rebecca Haders with a robot in the background.

Another location in downtown Hamilton grows tomatoes and cucumbers indoors.

Board member and investor Roger Billingsley is on board. "I believe it can potentially change the way leafy greens and a lot of vegetables are grown in the United States and around the world."