Meet Tusya Gharibashvili, a young and innovative entrepreneur, who developed the first urban vertical farming project in Georgia. Located at the award-winning Stamba Hotel, Space Farm grows baby greens, leafy greens, and edible flowers as well as strawberries and miniature vegetables. Built across 200 square meters with seven levels of racks, the facility uses 75 percent less water than traditional farming, conserves energy, and grows fresh organic produce handpicked for the hotel.
Q: Tell us the story of how you got into indoor farming.
While operating my first garden with a roof over its head, I got to know more about indoor vertical farms and the benefits that such innovative spaces bring. Eventually, I started getting in touch with successful vertical farmers worldwide and collecting information from them to build the first-ever indoor vertical farm in Tbilisi, Georgia. With Adjara Group’s support, I have been able to integrate agri-tech in Georgian agriculture and bring Space Farms to life.
Q: Tell us more about the digital technology you use.
We use advanced technologies, which automate complex tasks such as controlling light intensity, nutrient intake, humidity, carbon monoxide, and temperature. The artificial intelligence of the agricultural technology uses big data gathered from controlled environments around the world and increases Space Farms’ crop yields. Before every major action, I am notified by the software in advance about the ongoing conditions of the indoor farm and the anticipated actions that the smart technologies are planning to undertake.
Q: How did you get into partnership with Stamba?
Stamba Hotel is owned and operated by Adjara Group. I introduced my indoor vertical farm idea to the company, and they liked it. I think that the project plays a notable role in enriching the Georgian hospitality experience. Space Farms provides the highest quality fresh produce, which is not harvested actively anywhere else in the country. The innovative farming method ensures that we have a more reliable supply chain where food waste is decreased while the quantity of produce is consistent.
Q: How do people visiting the hotel react? What do they enjoy the most?
Space Farms is a unique blend of agriculture, architecture, and technology. This could be the reason that so many visitors are in awe of what they see. To my knowledge, our indoor vertical farm is the first one to incorporate transparent walls. Even though this decision is more costly, it diversifies the spatial experience of Space Farms and Stamba Hotel. Pink lights are shining through the vintage floor-to-ceiling windows and through them you can view various greens as well as fruits and vegetables growing on seven levels.
Q: How do you use 75 percent less water in the farm? How can one apply that to one’s home?
Instead of losing the water that we use, our agricultural technology filters and recirculates it. The UV light and osmosis filters clean the water of unwanted minerals, bacteria, and other particles that contaminate it, before sending it back to the plants. In living spaces, much of the water that we use for bathing and washing dishes could be reused after filtering it. You only need a big water tank and a couple of filters.
Q: What do you think is the future of Georgian agriculture?
Urban agriculture is becoming prominent across the globe, as threats to food security are increasing. I think that developing indoor vertical farms in Georgia is important and that we need to raise awareness and involve Georgian citizens in rethinking traditional agricultural practices. I see the development of such farms as an opportunity for decreasing food waste as well as water consumption and improving food security in Georgia.