News: Welcome to Wilder Fields

Join us in celebrating the arrival of Wilder Fields—a technology-enabled food company producing extraordinarily flavorful, fresh, safe, and sustainably grown food for local communities across the country.

Harnessing bleeding-edge technology, sustainable operations, and ethical real estate practices, Wilder Fields seeks to nourish the world and transform local economies by reinventing the practice of large-scale indoor vertical farming.

Produce possibility

The One Design team has had the privilege of working with CEO Jake Counne, CCO James Ratke, and their team since early 2020 to develop the Wilder Fields brand identity and communication strategy.

Formerly known as Backyard Fresh Farms, a new name, positioning strategy, messaging plan, identity program, and packaging system has been crafted from the ground-up to express a more resonant, emotional, and authentic narrative for the organization.

As nature intended, but better

The Wilder Fields team is setting out to transform the practice of vertical farming, an industry long plagued by high production costs and an inability to sustainably scale.

What began as an operational prototype born out of The Plant—a food-focused business incubator located in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood—Wilder Fields leverages advanced robotics, artificial intelligence, optical sensors, and automated harvesting processes to optimize growing conditions and reduce the inefficiencies traditionally associated with vertical farming. These breakthroughs open the doors for a scalable commercial practice that can produce product at competitive and accessible price points.

But innovative operations are only part of the picture. Wilder Fields aims to reinvigorate local economies and eliminate food deserts by transforming abandoned real estate into large-scale vertical farming operations—beginning with an abandoned Target Supercenter in Calumet City, just south of Chicago.

We seek to produce premium—extraordinarily flavorful, fresh, safe and sustainable grown—food for our local community.

From the Wilder Fields brand mission

Fresh produce, affordable prices, and jobs to boot

Wilder Fields was announced to the world on July 15th, as plans to convert an 135,000 square foot abandoned Target Supercenter in Calumet City to a large-scale indoor vertical farm were revealed—the first step in a broader vision to reimagine how vertical farming can transform access to food for underserved communities.

Part of a long-term plan to bring sustainable, scalable vertical farming practices to communities across the US, the company’s flagship operation will be comprised of 24 acres of indoor farmland, leveraging every inch of space floor to ceiling. Beyond the growing operation, the location will also include a direct-to-consumer retail outlet and an education center.

Wilder Fields founder Jake Counne, announcing plans to convert a former Target into the company’s flagship location.
135,000 square feet of abandoned retail space will be converted to 24 acres of indoor farmland in the coming months

At full capacity, this Wilder Fields location will employ 80 people and produce up to 25 million heads of produce a year—including dozens of artisan varieties, many of which will be brand new to the palates of Chicago-area consumers.

Visit Wilder Fields on Instagram

Transforming produce from coast to coast

For the One Design team, the opportunity to partner with innovators focused not only on creating amazing products, but on supporting the health and well-being of consumers, the environment, and local economies is a dream.

A full case study covering the outcome of our collaboration is in the works…

In the meantime, learn more about Wilder Fields and their vision for a more sustainable, accessible future via the links below:

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One Design Company is a research-driven design and development studio. For over a decade, we’ve explored the intersection of experience and technology—where powerful brands come to life. Want to learn more? Let’s chat.

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