“Our industry is getting ready for another wave of growth. In order to do that, you have to put together great minds, made up of different skillsets.” Speaking is Adam Greenberg, CEO with iUNU. The company created the LUNA platform to help growers improve their cultivation and enlarge the acreage they’re controlling. Today they announce two acquisitions, also contributing to that goal. From now on, full-service IPM consultancy CropWalk and podcast CropTalk will be part of the iUNU group.
Centralized management of distributed facilities
“The shortage of qualified people is hitting the fast-growing industry hard. The future is centralized management of distributed facilities,” says Adam Greenberg, CEO with iUNU. That’s why the company created the LUNA system, which focuses on identifying growing maladies before the crop is affected and promotes better accountability of growing practices through the workflow management application. “The massive shortage of both growers and manual labor requires scalable machine vision solutions to further produce supply.”
Now the company has acquired integrated pest management company CropWalk. Adam says that ever since the iUNU team started working with CropWalk, the CropWalk experts have been adding tremendous value for the iUNU customers. “When it became clear we would become a large percentage of the CropWalk consulting business, it became a natural fit to bring their skill set to all our customers, while at the same time expanding their capacity and insights with LUNA.”
LUNA, iUNU’s flagship product, is an AI tasked with connecting plants, facilities, and people through a single interface. LUNA runs on computers or mobile devices and turns commercial greenhouses into precise, predictable, demand-based manufacturers. LUNA was born in the heart of Seattle, trained in Silicon Valley and the greenhouses of Washington, and is accessible from everywhere.
The future is more biologicals
“There’s a massive shortage of growers and people who deeply understand biologicals. At the same time, the future is more biologicals, not less. CropWalk CEO Charlie McKenzie is a biological expert who has grown ornamentals and leafy greens, and worked for a biological company. CropWalk itself is well-known for how they customize a unique suite of services for operations of various kinds, offering risk assessments, IPM program development, training sessions, the online CropWalk Academy, and more, including remote monitoring services,” he explains, adding that the capacity of which is now dramatically enhanced by iUNU’s LUNA system. “With LUNA we get to bring unbiased knowledge and experts to offer unbiased solutions.”
“As an analogy: In the old days, you brought the patient to the doctor, and to the x-ray. With our technology, in real-time we can bring the doctor with the x-ray to the patient, wherever they are. The doctor doesn’t have to be in the same room as the patient,” Adam summarizes. “It’s another step towards the autonomous greenhouse concept that everyone is talking about. By knowing all problems and having all solutions by hand, we can work towards a much more autonomous type of operational structure creating new efficiencies.”
Charlie McKenzie, CEO of CropWalk adds that they have always used remote monitoring technology to identify and mitigate conditions that foster plant pathogens. “The mantra we live by at CropWalk is ‘Start Clean, Stay Clean.’ Working with the iUNU team and using LUNA, we can digitally walk a crop from anywhere at any time allowing our team to effectively prevent problems before they result in economic injury. Our clients want us around more often, with LUNA, we can be there all the time. It’s a win for growers, a win for CropWalk, and a win for iUNU.”
And there’s more news. Also podcast CropTalk will be part of the iUNU group from now on. CropTalk is a podcast series with the goal to empower horticulturalists with knowledge and resources through insightful digital content. Again, this acquisition is part of the iUNU goal to reduce the cost of nutrient-rich food reaching urban centers while helping growers thrive. “With 65% of growers above the age of 55, the industry is growing and needs to be growing rapidly. It’s hard to find good talent these days. Everybody is excited by the industry, but not everybody is from the industry. We need to parlay that excitement into learning from the experts, allowing everyone to share expertise and learn together. The rugose virus is an example of a subject that’s an industry problem, not a single person problem, showing that we need to learn from each other. We’ll be underwriting the GrowerTalks podcasts, allowing them to remain ad-free and free of charge, and available for the whole industry. The goal is to create authentic content and multiple different series’ that can excite a broad audience, from beginners to industry veterans.”