Once upon a time there was no agriculture. The first signs of agriculture appeared in the fertile Crescent within the Middle East. As people started cultivating land to produce food they settled down and shifted from a nomadic spartanic lifestyle to an affluent society. Suddenly there was more than enough food and people built silos to store the surplus of food. Demographic growth was the new norm. This was about 10'000 year ago. How did agriculture change ever since?
We are still cultivating land, in fact we cut down vast amounts of forest and are cultivating more land than ever before; 40 % of all ice-free land to feed about 8 billion people on this planet. We replaced ox for large machines, switched from small scale diverse agriculture to large scale monocultures and use millions of tons of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides to ensure growth. We at Yasai think we have a systematic problem within the food industry.
Yasai is here to disrupt the current food system and enable people to grow more with less.
We contribute to a local circular food system with the focus on more biodiversity & taste with a smaller ecological foot print and zero pesticides or food miles. We are part of a movement that started in 2010 with the book: "Vertical Farms: How to feed the world in the 21st century" written by Dr. Dickson Despommier. After reading this book during his exchange semester in 2016 in Mexico-City, Co-Founder & CEO Mark E. Zahran travelled to New York to get to know the author.
From this point on the architecture student switched his focus from the urban towards the countryside. Mark created a master thesis at ETH Zurich with the question of "How to integrate Vertical Farming within the Swiss landscape?". The Answer: "By reusing and transforming mining landscapes we can create large scale Vertical Farms in Switzerland." The company LafargeHolcim supported a feasibility study and enabled the young Start-Up called YASAI to grow.
Step by step more dedicated people joined the team and contributed to the vision of YASAI. Today we are four co-founders with a very interdisciplinary & international background. Our common aim is to contribute to a circular urban food system by offering Vertical Farming as a Service based on a circular economy. We grow more with less for the health of people, plants & planet.