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30 Fabulous Companies of the Year 2020

CITYBLOOMS: Farming at your Fingertips

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Cityblooms is a company that provides modular farming and gardening products. The inspiration for Cityblooms came out of a desire to provide sustainably grown food to a rapidly expanding population. Responding to the needs of farmers, Cityblooms has developed an integrated technology stack that includes sensor and equipment control technology coupled with a powerful farm management platform. Cityblooms has years of experience with designing and implementing modular systems for controlled environment agriculture, producing a variety of crops for some of the world’s largest corporations.Located in Santa Cruz, California, at the intersection of the world’s tech and agricultural capitals, Cityblooms makes farming ‘smart’.

GROWBOTS

Cityblooms manufactures modular “growbots”; lightweight green houses that can be fit into empty city corners and grow food better than a community garden. The hydroponic units are cloud connected and farmers can track the progress of the crop remotely and also control irrigation, humidity and plant health. The system is capable of growing a large volume of produce. 16 units can grow up to five tons of lettuce in a year.

 “Urban gardening is a wonderful community-building exercise, but from a technology perspective, it’s largely like going back to the Stone Age,” says Nick Halmos, founder and CEO of Cityblooms. “You’re not getting any of the yield improvements from either automated hydroponics, or from the large mechanization that’s been developed to make farming profitable in the industrial agriculture sphere,” he says. “We’re bringing proven commercial agriculture technology and just reformatting it into a form factor that’s more compatible with the nuances of urban development.”  The Cityblooms system weighs around 15-17 pounds per square foot. The units can also be built around equipment that is already there on the roof. “The modularity also gives us the ability to scale very easily,” Halmos says. “So we can size a farming installation appropriately to the demands and consumption patterns and profiles of the community that the farm is built to serve.”

PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Commercial Ag Technology

From a diverse set of crop metrics to complex operational logistics, the modern farm is increasingly driven by data. Managing that data to drive informed decisions is a challenge in and of itself. Understanding this challenge, Cityblooms has created an integrated technology stack that couples sophisticated sensor arrays and reliable equipment automation with a powerful farm management platform that optimizes yields and saves valuable time. Cityblooms helps growers of any size better manage their controlled environments, including greenhouses, hoop houses, indoor farms, or grow rooms.

Modular Farming Systems

Benefiting from years of real-world operation, Cityblooms has developed a fleet of modular farming systems with the flexibility to suit most any application. The modular farms include outdoor open or enclosed cultivators, indoor growing and propagation units, and large indoor vertical farms. Furthermore, when coupled with the Cityblooms Technology Stack, the systems can be operated efficiently even by novice growers. These sustainable systems use 90% less water than conventional farms without harmful pesticides.  The produce low carbon footprint crops, and allows a just-in-time approach to food production which opens up a wide variety of specialty cultivars.

Professional Services

Looking to install technology in your growing operation but need a reliable partner to execute your vision? Not sure how to get your growing operation up and running in the most efficient way possible?  They’ve designed and built custom solutions for commercial growers, large public companies, academic institutions, private homes. Whether it’s getting sensor technology and nutrient management installed; creating farm management and equipment maintenance tracking systems; setting up crop production schedules and conducting historical yield analysis, they have a suite of products and services with a team of experts to help you.

Driving Force behind Cityblooms: Nick Halmos, CEO and Founder

Nick began his career in controlled environment agriculture in 2001, and has been a consistent innovator in the AgTech field, while also successfully founding and building companies in real estate.  Nick moved Cityblooms to Santa Cruz, California in 2011, and began building a team to develop the next generation of farming technology.   Under Nick's leadership, Cityblooms was awarded the prestigious Business Environmental Award in 2015 by Acterra for its on-site farm at Plantronics, and was also named as one of the "Ten Hot Companies to Watch in Monterey Bay's Agtech Hub,” in early 2016.  He was awarded 4 patents in early 2017 for design and utility of Cityblooms' micro-farming systems, and was named "Innovator of the Year" in March of 2017 for his continued commitment to new and creative sustainable farming solutions. 

Nick holds a JD from Vanderbilt Law School and a BA from Brown University.