Small Business Spotlight: Catching Up With Suma Reddy Of Farmshelf


NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Wednesday's WCBS Small Business Spotlight with Joe Connolly, sponsored by BNB Bank — "Community Banking from Montauk to Manhattan," marks our 150th episode of the series. 

Connolly sits down with Suma Reddy of Farmshelf, who was a guest two years ago, to talk about her expansion since then.

Farmshelf is an indoor farming company based in Brooklyn that allows restaurants to grow its own food.

They build bookcase-sized units that use hydroponic technology, meaning without soil, using LED lights to ensure plants receive the nutrients they need when they need it.

"It's the intersection of food, it's the intersection of technology, it's the intersection of sustainability and so we sat there and said we can really take the best parts of all of these trends. We're technologists, , we're scientists, engineers, designers, business people," Reddy said. 

In the past two years, Farmshelf has grown exponentially, tripling their team size to over 30 people and sold over 15 times the number of products.

Their main customers are hotels, corporate cafes, such as American Express that has six of their farms, and schools and universities that use their product not only for the food, but as a STEM education tool.

American Express is using their product mostly for herbs such as basil and thyme. Farmshelf provides 60 to 80 percent of their herb needs for their 3,000 employees.

"For us we champion our plants, we're very design conscious when we decided to design the Farmshelf because we really wanted to spotlight the plants," Reddy said.

Now for Farmshelf, the sky's the limit. They want to grow from selling 150 units in 2019 to several thousand next year and expand from B2B to growing food in your apartment, house or schools.

Watch the video above to learn how they've managed to escalate their growth in just a matter of months.