Sustenir Agriculture, Kinky Kale

overall Rating:

2.3

planets

Nadia Greutert
3/7/2021
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Their website does seem to lack a lot of information on the growth process, though this information is provided by the many interviews and videos that have been filmed with the cofounder. As a kale-consumer, I have already and will continue to purchase from Sustenir Agriculture as an alternative to imported kale. However, the next step the business could take would be to look into energy use alternatives, as well as finding alternatives to plastic packaging.

what it's made of:

1.5

Kinky Kale is a type of Singapore-grown kale, under the brand Sustenir Agriculture. Produced locally, the leafy green was created as an alternative to Singapore’s heavy reliance on important vegetables. As simple as the product advertises, the product comprises only kale, which has been grown indoors in a controlled environment. Considering the product is sold in its natural state and unprocessed, the sustainability concerns centre more around its plastic packaging. There is no information provided regarding the sustainability efforts in Kinky Kale’s packaging, though it is evident that it is plastic-based. The utilisation of plastic packaging does pose benefits in terms of preserving the quality and safety of the kale, though I would argue there is an opportunity to eliminate the use of plastic packaging. Considering the brand is based and distributed locally, there is significantly less transportation involved, furthermore other vegetable suppliers don’t directly use plastic and instead let consumers decide if they need it or not.

how it's made:

2.5

Considering Singapore only 1% of land for agriculture, land scarcity has pushed for innovative ways to grow crops. Kinky kale is grown through ‘Controlled Environment Agriculture’, which adopts an indoor farming technique that calibrates numerous environmental conditions to enable and maximise crop growth. Unlike conventional farming techniques, Sustenir Agriculture relies on hydroponics, a type of horticulture that allows plant growth in the absence of soil, in which nutrients are immediately dissolved in water. As a result, the plants require less effort and time to build intricate root systems, accelerating the growth process of the actual leaves instead. Controlling environmental factors for temperature, water, nutrients, lighting and humidity, kale is consequently able to grow and thrive in unconventional environments. The farms are arranged both linearly and vertically to maximise growth space, which is often a limitation found with natural agricultural practices. The ability to directly manipulate growth environments through indoor farming practices simultaneously eliminates problems of pollution and pest invasion, as well as being heavy metal free. Though, the company lacks information on the type and amount of energy that goes into maintaining these controlled climates. Considering the growth process relies heavily on technology, energy consumption comprises a big aspect in how it’s made. Another concern arises with how its packaging is made, therefore comments on these aspects aren’t conclusive. In spite of this, Sustenir Agriculture’s mission to improve localised food security shows to be a great opportunity. The comparative carbon footprint of transporting vegetables internally rather than transnationally significantly benefits the environment, as well as stating that they are 127 times more efficient than a traditional farm per square foot.

who makes it:

3

Sustenir Agriculture is an indoor agritech company founded by two friends who initially had no background in agriculture. Since their launch in 2013, the business has expanded production to grow kale, strawberries and arugula and are based in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. Using a combination of technology in the seeding process and manual labour for the latter stages of kale growth, Sustenir Agriculture also makes it a point to employ locals. As the production process is confined locally, the need for outsourcing is eliminated and thus greater surveillance and communication can occur within the firm. The co-founder has mentioned the introduction of bees as a natural pollinator, in attempts to increase yields by another 40-50%. The ethics of this process are evidently considered, in which the bees will rotate between indoor and outdoor lifestyles and originate from a local partner. Though, it would be helpful to get more insights into the working conditions and a more in-depth description of the growth process that could help consumers make more informed decisions.

sources:

_https://thehoneycombers.com/singapore/sustenir-agriculture/_ (https://thehoneycombers.com/singapore/sustenir-agriculture/) _https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjG8M1b-bN4_ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjG8M1b-bN4) _https://www.smartcompany.com.au/industries/retail/plastic-packaging-prevent-food-waste/_ (https://www.smartcompany.com.au/industries/retail/plastic-packaging-prevent-food-waste/) _https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/11/cnbc-transcript-b_ (https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/11/cnbc-transcript-benjamin-swan-co-founder-and-ceo-sustenir-agriculture.html)