"Significant changes in sustainable agriculture need to be made as population numbers rise, putting pressure on global food security. Precision farming is emerging as a sustainable alternative, and indoor farms that rely on artificial lighting have mushroomed globally in recent years", says Keith Thomas with Food Autonomy. The Budapest-based company was established in 2021 to take the baton from Tungsram's Agritech business unit. According to Keith, the lighting manufacturer with growing expertise in luminaires used in precision farming is deeply committed to innovation and development. "We're setting out to develop world-class LED lighting and smart solutions used in precision indoor farming operations."
As a key objective, Food Autonomy will promote existing agritech products and solutions in new and existing markets globally and adapt these to the legal, economic, and other specificities of the various local markets.
As an example, Keith tells about Food Autonomy's newest innovation, the LEDFan Greenhouse Toplight. Food Autonomy and one of the biggest greenhouse operators, Lans Group of The Netherlands, has co-developed this ground-breaking LED grow light that utilizes the otherwise lost heat created by the lamps owing to its unique technology.
"Thanks to its built-in fans, a warm air blanket is created between the crop and the luminaires, forming an invisible energy screen, which increases the efficiency of the whole heating system. With LEDFan, screens and windows can be kept further closed, saving not only on electricity (like all LEDs) but also on heating costs (15-20%). It is the perfect example for the green evolution", Keith says. "The LEDFan Greenhouse Toplight is here to save on electricity and lighting bills – and it's good for the planet too."
Partner repertoire & collaborations
The new company is continuously expanding its partner repertoire. Besides many prestigious universities, Food Autonomy is in constant collaboration with other interesting parties and does not plan to stop. For instance, Food Autonomy is the official European distributor and manufacturer of the Canadian Hamill's Microgreen Harvesters, a piece of low-maintenance machinery with precision cutting technology. The Harvesters are working well with all types of microgreens, providing a clean cut, increasing productivity, and prolonging the freshness of the products.
Food Autonomy's other interesting partnership is with Grinsect, the only Hungarian company licensed by a government agency to engage in the mass breeding, rearing, and processing of the black soldier fly for feed purposes. Grinsect's collaboration with Food Autonomy started with lamps when Grinsect was working on developing a modern lighting solution, as flies can only pair effectively under artificial conditions when an appropriate light spectrum and brightness are provided. So, the two parties have co-developed a LED-based toplight with an upgraded version, and the companies are also working on other versions.
"But the list of cooperation does not have to end here. Food Autonomy is open to further co-development, projects, and partners to create a better and more sustainable tomorrow together!" Keith concludes.