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MSC Cruises and Babylon Micro-Farms Partnership Create World's First Hydroponic Farm at Sea

Babylon Micro-Farms which makes hydroponic micro-farms recently installed an operation on one of the world’s biggest cruise ships. The company has more than doubled the number of farms in circulation since moving to the city in 2021.

Babylon had three farms installed inside of MSC Cruises’ newest ship the World Europa, called one of the most anticipated cruise ships of 2022 by U.S. News & World Report. MSC contacted Babylon three years ahead of the ship’s unveiling with plans to have the farms inside one of its on-board restaurants.

Three micro-farms went into the space for MSC’s restaurant concept branded the Chef’s Garden Kitchen, which was built specifically to accommodate the farms into its design.

“Installing micro-farms on a commercial cruise ship is a great demonstration of how micro-farms are reimaging the supply chain for fresh produce. Wherever the ship sails, they’ll have their own supply of fresh produce, all year round, no matter the climate outside,” said Alexander Olesen, co-founder of Babylon Micro-Farms, in a statement. “This is just another example of how our micro-farms are creating unique indoor farming experiences in places that no one thought were possible.”

The restaurant’s menu was designed by Swedish chef Niklas Ekstedt and focuses on natural ingredients and a “farm-to-ocean ethos.”

“We’re particularly excited about the opportunity to grow fresh herbs and garnishes for Michelin Star Chef Niklas Eksedt in this world's first installation of a vertical farm aboard a commercial cruise liner,” Olesen said.

The company creates indoor farming units that can be controlled remotely to grow vegetables, herbs, and salad greens.

Babylon’s automated farms aboard the World Europa will primarily grow micro-greens used as flavor additives and garnishes. The company’s key innovation is the creation of a technology system that enables its own staff to remotely control light, water, and nutrients for its systems. Farms often grow edible plants li

The piloted project with MSC, an Italian global cruise liner, has led the company through regulations around the export of seeds and food overseas, opening the door for more international growth.

Since first coming to Richmond from Charlottesville in 2021, the company increased its number of farms in circulation from 40 to more than 130.

Babylon’s list of partnerships has traditionally been in senior living facilities, offices, and higher education. This past year they added IKEA, which has a pilot in its Charlotte, North Carolina, location; LinkedIn; Aramark; and Neiman Marcus, among others.

Last year also marked the launch of Babylon’s newest product, Galleri, which was used in the World Europa. Galleri has the same amount of growing space as the previous growing tank but is about a foot-and-a-half narrower. It also uses 55% less plastic and has updated technology and an updated design. Trays inside the farm are now machine washable, reducing cleaning time from about an hour to 30 minutes.

Babylon also expanded its Scott’s Addition headquarters, adding 10,000 square feet of manufacturing space at 3407 Carlton St., a building joined to its corporate office. That has nearly tripled the company’s capacity to manufacture new farms. It also doubled its number of manufacturing employees while adding some in sales and customer support, for a total of around 40 workers.

#BatchHighlights #FoodandAgtech


Babylon Micro-Farms is part of Thailand's Batch 0 Food & AgTech Program.

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