Bi-O develops company structure and invites investors

Bi-O has built up a unique business based on solid experience with the production of propagating material within useful plants. We also work with variety development in sunchoke and garlic, as well as variety conservation and maintenance of, among other things, vossakvann. Then we have developed the vision for the extensive cultivar database Culton and the exchange platform for propagation material called Culton X. We now want to build a new physical base in Maridalen in order to further develop ourselves and create the greatest possible internal win-win between the various projects. But we cannot do this alone, and need help from people who believe in this and can contribute with networks, expertise and capital.

Sunflower photo at top of Mark Kelly at Unsplash

Our vision

Bi-O’s vision is to contribute to creating the food safety system of the future. We are concerned about the consequences of global warming, which i.a. with a high probability will lead to great pressure from climate refugees to northern Europe, which will presumably be a “winner” with respect to many negative consequences of climate change. We think that many people will see this area as very attractive; wet and little sun perhaps, but fertile, and not too hot in summer. See the article 3X local food security in an uncertain geopolitical future.

Here is how we want to contribute:

Building information systems

We have come a long way in developing the Culton concept, a free online encyclopedia for all varieties, races and strains of beneficial organisms, as well as the associated project Culton X, with tools for keeping your own collection in order, planning cultivation and exchanging propagation material with others.

Build physical transition projects

We are well underway with this through our production of propagating material which we have sold to growers all over the country for the past 7 years, and the last 3 via our own online store. We are now planning to develop our first long-term transition project, hopefully in the north of Maridalen. It will be run in collaboration between Bi-O Agro AS and Bi-Omstilling SA (omstilling = transition), which will be a local cooperative to involve the local population and interested parties from Oslo in cultivation based on various degrees of participation: from supporter, via customer to active participant in the cultivation . Bi-O Agro will be responsible for the professional management, in addition to producing propagating material itself. Here is the activity plan we hope to get started with from the 2024 season:

1) production facility for compost and organic cover material, the basis for everything
2) the water system (pond and other reservoirs, drip system for potted plants, etc.)
3) plant nursery for vegetative propagation (preferably combined with an education unit)
4) seed production of locally adapted varieties and a seed bank to contribute to a larger area in the event of a crisis
5) fields for intensive vegetable production, including sensible use of electricity-based equipment/automation (precision cultivation)
6) fields for efficient production of fruit, berries, nuts
7) forest garden (also called food forest), both to research in, produce food in and offer woofers / garden residences to stay and work in
8) breeding of new locally adapted varieties of plants, breeds of animals and strains of microorganisms

And as part of the whole thing: design and production of microhouse systems, greenhouse systems, equipment and other facilities, all off-grid based as much as possible (solar, geo-, possibly some wind and bio-energy).

Build/contribute to utility genebanks for locally adapted open cultivars

Here, our own production in the catalyst project(s) will be our contribution, but such must be developed in collaboration with other manufacturers or organisations, such as e.g. Norwegian Community Seed Bank.

Company structure

Bi-O has long had plans to develop the company structure for the most efficient financing and operation possible, and the first step has now been taken by adopting the company that until recently was named Bi-O Design AS to take over the online store. This company has taken over the name Bi-O AS (adopted in extraordinary general meeting 27/09/2023) and takes care of marketing and sales, as well as financing and operation of production companies and projects. New organization number also means using an starting from scratch with accounting, and this gives us the opportunity to build up the online store from scratch, and clear away accumulated technical problems and structure everything better based on what we have learned after 3 years of operation. Both we and our customers will get a lot of this in the future.

Today’s Bi-O AS has been renamed Bi-O Agro AS (adopted in an extraordinary general meeting on 26.09.2023) and continue the agricultural-related business. Rules and reporting for agricultural companies are so special that it is unnecessarily complicated to mix in other purposes. This approach provides better focus and simpler administration. The advantage of the existing companies continuing with this purpose is that this corporate number is in use by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority and in other contexts, and this creates continuity.

In practice, the main company will therefore continue to be Bi-O AS, but with a new org. no. In the long term, it is possible that this also becomes a parent company.

Today’s Bi-O AS also owns 25% of Culton X AS, which is the programming company that develops Culton and Culton X, and this stake will be transferred to the new Bi-O AS. Culton X AS will soon carry out a separate issue with the aim of launching the system in spring 2024.

Need for base financing

An important reason why we are now doing this is that we need to build up basic funding for the Bi-O project. Until now, it has been financed through operations, but this year we have experienced a shortfall in income due to changed production conditions and are therefore now in a small crisis. Our collaboration with Sørbråten farm in Maridalen was unexpectedly terminated in connection with the eldest son taking over the operation there, and has other plans. We are now in dialogue with other farmers in the valley and elsewhere, but have not reached a new agreement yet. For the time being, we are therefore only disposing of a few smaller areas where the company has an office on Sørbråten, which is located on the north-eastern side of the valley.

Bi-O Stocks

We are starting the new Bi-O AS’s financing work by launching a special crowdfunding campaign, called Bi-O Stocks.

Sist oppdatert 2023-11-09 av Bi-O

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