Yasai specializes in vertical farming based on a circulatory system. The team of the ETH spin-off plans, builds and operates Vertical Farms for its customers with the aim of producing more high-quality food with less resource.
(Image 5.1 + Description: "Co-Founder & CEO Mark (2nd from right) and his team")
Mark, Co-Founder & CEO founded Yasai on January 21, 2020 – during the outbreak of COVID-19 and just weeks before the nationwide lockdown. "The desire for independence, freedom and the opportunity to change the world for the better have led me to do so," says Mark.
COVID-19 has played an extremely important role in this: "People have realized that the current food supply is very volatile and we can no longer continue to import food to this
extent." By means of vertical farming, Yasai can produce local products with 95% less water consumption and without pesticides – and thus massively reduce the ecological footprint of food.
(Image 5.2 + Description: "The first prototype, the Underground Farm, is located underground in the bunker of an old house in Zurich")
Mark first read about Vertical Farms when he was in Mexico City on an exchange
semester. "I was lucky enough to eat fruits and vegetables there that I had never seen before. This was the beginning of my obsession with the food industry," says Mark. His studies in architecture led him to deal with the spatial dimensions of the food industry. It quickly became clear to him that the production of food for around 8 billion people requires an enormous amount of land; around 40% of the total ice-free land area worldwide. "In comparison, all cities in the world require only 3% of the total land area. Most people already live in cities and more and more people are moving to the urban regions of the world," explains the IFJ founder. This leads to people losing touch with food production and not being aware of the impact their eating habits have on the natural environment.
(Image 5.3 + Description:"Elizabeth of Yasai picks a salad")
Agriculture is the biggest cause of deforestation as well as groundwater pollution and scarcity.
Yasai's intention is to reduce the ecological footprint of food: "By putting food production back at the center of attention through vertical farming, we can encourage people to eat healthier for the well-being of our planet, biodiversity and people themselves."
Over the next six months, Mark's team will build the first Pilot Vertical Farm – in and for
Zurich. This is the biggest challenge facing the startup in the short term. "We are well prepared for this as our team has been waiting for this opportunity for a long time. Now that we've completed the first round of seed funding, we can finally get started."
Want to know more about Yasai?
Take a look at www.yasai.ch.