AeroFarms is among four "next gen" farms on the Thrive Top 50 list of notable agri-tech companies. ( Photo courtesy AeroFarms )

Companies with robots that can harvest apples and urban/automated/vertical greens growers that supply local retailers made the Thrive Top 50, an annual list of the world’s best agriculture technology.

Some of the companies have products specific to the fruit and vegetable sector, but many of them support all growers, from data analytics products to connected devices and cloud services.

The list, started in 2016, is compiled by Palo Alto, Calif.-based venture capital company SVG Partners, which also sponsors industry events to showcase new ag technology. The group’s annual Thrive AgTech Innovation Forum is Feb. 7 in Menlo Park, Calif. Some of the 50 companies will give presentations throughout the day, with other speakers focusing on technology as well.

Speakers this year include Nolan Paul, head of research and development strategy and emerging tech at Driscoll’s, and Scott Komar, senior vice president of research and development at the berry company. Dricoll’s is an event sponsor.

Fresh produce related companies highlighted in the list of 50 include:

  • Abundant Robotics, which is working to commercialize an apple picker as labor availability concerns grow;
  • Apeel Sciences, whose Edipeel process uses parts of plants normally thrown away to make a thin barrier that protects produce and prolongs shelf life,
  • Four “next gen” that grow primarily leafy greens indoors (most in urban areas): AeroFarms, Bowery Farms, BrightFarms and Plenty.

“The year’s honorees span a diverse range of technology types covering everything from accelerated gene editing to novel farming systems to farm management platforms, said SVG Partners and Thrive CEO John Hartnett in a news release. “The need for agtech innovation is more urgent than ever, and we are delighted to bring these technologists together with our corporate partners to advance the industry.”

Companies including DowDuPont, Monsanto Ventures, Coca-Cola and Land O’ Lakes also participate in the forum.

The full list of the Thrive Top 50 is available online.