NEARWEEK PERSPECTIVES: Raiz Vertical Farms
The NEARverse is expanding at a head-spinning rate making it difficult to identify truly innovative and cutting-edge projects. The mission of NEARWEEK’s Perspective is to give informed and thorough coverage of the projects we believe will make a long-lasting mark on the NEAR ecosystem and its community. Every week will pick a different project after reviewing its value proposition, execution, and roadmap, and help spread the good news through the NEAR ecosystem and beyond.
A few weeks ago, NEARWEEK provided an introductory article on Raiz Vertical Farms, a new project on the NEAR ecosystem that focuses on addressing the pitfalls of the traditional agricultural industry. Raiz combines new farming technologies and Web3 to make sustainable farming scalable, accessible, and profitable. As Raiz caught our attention with its value proposition and vision we decided to sit down with the team and dig deeper into Raiz.
Raiz’s First Steps
Raiz Vertical Farms is a project born from the desire to address some of the contemporary issues that the agricultural and food industry are struggling with. In the past ten years, concerns over the environmental cost of these industries grew significantly, as well as the awareness that new systems need to be put in place to avoid a full-blown crisis.
In 2019, Emiliano Gutiérrez, Raiz’s CEO, became increasingly interested in the agriculture and food industry after his first exposure to vertical farming.
“The first time I was exposed to vertical farming was in New York City. In one of the poorest neighborhoods of NYC, Bronx, they were growing these high-tech farms. It really transformed the way I look at the food system. Later on, on a trip to Australia, I also realized how fragile our food supply chain is. That’s when it really hit me that the farming system is not sustainable, it is still high energy, and we have no food security.”-Emiliano Gutiérrez
With a background in the renewable energy sector and in blockchain technology, it wasn’t long before Emiliano saw an opportunity to innovate the food industry. In early 2020 Raiz’s mission and vision started to take shape together with its team of engineers, biologists, and marketing experts. By the end of 2020, Raiz was ready for its next phase.
Raiz’s Journey On NEAR Protocol
In 2021, Raiz decided to kickstart its project in Lisbon, 2020 Europe’s green city. Here Raiz started collaborating with Arroz Estudios, a NEAR regional hub and NGO that offers artists a space to experiment and create. Thanks to Arroz Estudios, Raiz was introduced to the NEAR Protocol, marking the beginning of a new exploratory phase for Raiz:
“Having a background in blockchain I immediately saw the potential of what we could do on NEAR. It offers low fees, a very good UX, and high speed, and on top of that it is a climate-neutral blockchain. Collaborating with South Pole, NEAR has really been a pioneer when it comes to being climate neutral, and we are very happy to collaborate with them!” -Emiliano Gutiérrez
NEAR Protocol, a carbon-neutral blockchain seemed like an obvious option for Raiz. By leveraging NEAR technological architecture and DeFi tools, Raiz will be able to integrate vertical farming with blockchain and distributed food systems to create the future of food:
“Being able to finance the development of new vertical farms or a big network of vertical farms is very important for scaling our operations. DeFi makes it possible for us to achieve this goal. We can make investing in vertical farms appealing, and we can provide stakeholders and users with accountability for our climate impact.”-Emiliano Gutierréz
Thanks to NEAR, Raiz will be able to push the boundaries of ReFi, and implement a clever token economics design to incentivize participation. Raiz’s aim is to put forward a replicable, and modular system allowing the creation of vertical farms anywhere in the world. As Raiz’s CEO puts it: “The idea is to transform urban spaces everywhere in a tokenized manner so we can have a digital asset that represents the farm and have people all over the world be able to invest it or support it and deploy the farm.” This is ultimately what Raiz envisions for the future, a full-blown food revolution!
Raiz’s Past and Future Milestones
In 2021 Raiz set up its first test chambers and launched its first operations. In this initial phase, Raiz attracted 100 paying customers confirming that the market is hungry for sustainable produce. Raiz then went on to launch its crowdfunding campaign which allowed it to keep running and building.
In late March, Raiz started the construction of its flagship farm at Arroz Estudios, which will come to fruition in the coming months. This will be of course one of Raiz’s biggest milestones as it will allow it to have its proper launch into the market.
On the NEAR front, apart from completing the design of its token economics, and working on the integration of Raiz to NEAR from a technical point of view, Raiz is also going to launch an NFT to foster community engagement and inaugurate its entrance into the NEAR ecosystem.
On top of that, Raiz is going to focus on onboarding events that will bring people closer to Web3 and the NEAR ecosystem:
“We really want to push and host events at Arroz, we already did some onboarding while doing these events where we teach people about vertical farming and how Lisbon can benefit from it and then open NEAR wallets from them. The idea is really to merge physical activities with the creation of wallets and providing guidance on what NEAR is.” -Lucía Salas, Raiz co-founder,and COO
In the coming months, Raiz will focus on creating a bridge between the physical and digital, an effort that will greatly benefit the citizens of Lisbon, the NEAR ecosystem, and soon, more people across the globe!
2022 will be a year of growth for Raiz. To stay up-to-date don’t forget to follow Raiz on Twitter and keep an eye on its Website. Big announcements are coming!
About Raiz Vertical Farms
Raiz Vertical Farms is an initiative that proposes a fresh perspective on our relationship to the environment and the way we produce food. Starting in 2020, Raiz Vertical Farms is turning Lisbon into an urban farm bringing sustainable, and healthy, km 0 veggies to the tables of Portuguese. As the project develops, Raiz will introduce vertical farms in other cities, initiating a real food revolution.
About NEAR Protocol
NEAR is a high-performance blockchain that is designed to be super-fast, incredibly secure, and infinitely scalable. NEAR’s vision is to create a network that enables people to re-imagine finance, creativity, and community in new and inclusive ways. NEAR is built by an award-winning team of engineers and entrepreneurs to be simple to use, inclusive and good for the environment. NEAR is backed by top VCs such as A16Z, Pantera Capital, Electric Capital, Dragonfly Capital, Coinbase Ventures, Blockchain.com, and Baidu Ventures.