Europe’s Huge New Vertical Farm


Behind the Scenes of Europe’s New Vertical Farm

Just Northeast of Amsterdam there’s a new vertical farm called GrowWise in Dronten. GrowWire is a division of Phillip’s Lighting that is using technology to tackle the crucial question: How are we going to feed over 9 billion people by 2050? Like many others attempting an answer to that question, GrowWise is investing in urban vertical farming, advancing the technologies needed to make it more efficient, more cost-effective and more automated.

GrowWise is a vertical farming research facility. Using advanced LED technology GrowWise is able to turn over a crop every 30-40 days

Europe's new urban vertical farm uses LED lighting to grow crops quicker than ones grown in sunlight
GrowWise growth chambers use spectrum controlled LED lighting. Photo Cred: Singularity Hub

compared to 60-65 days for the same crop varieties. It accomplishes this by using adjustable spectrum LED lighting. By controlling the spectrum GrowWise can run a plant through its various stages of growth, using the exact spectrum of light it needs at each stage, and because it can change spectrum quicker than the sun would do naturally, they are able to speed up the growth cycles and have the plant grow to its fullest potential at each growth stage.

 

It’s no coincidence that GrowWise set up just outside an urban center. The UN’s World Urbanization Prospect report suggests that 2.5billion people will be added to urban populations by 2050. Not only is that a lot more people in general, but the fact that they’ll all be in cities suggests that that’s 2.5 billion people who will be food consumers and not contribute to producing any of their food. With our rural farms already not meeting the needs of the current world’s population, new methods of farming that allow us to farm in more places using fewer resources will be in high demand over the coming decades.

For now, vertical farming is still quite expensive, a bag of GrowWise lettuce is more expensive than organically grown field lettuce, and it requires a lot of energy. The sun is free and LED lights don’t power themselves. Early adopters of vertical farming accept these challenges. More research and investment will help drive down prices across the industry, and ultimately many of these facilities will actually run on solar power, greatly reducing the energy needs of Urban Vertical farming.

We’re all aiming to make vertical farming a method of farming that requires no fertilizers, no pesticides, produces no waste or runoff, uses a fraction of the resources compared to field farming (land and water) and can produce uninterrupted year round no matter the weather. The result of that quest will be

a fresher, healthier, tastier crop that is grown to be consumed fresh as opposed to being grown to endure storage and travel to get to a plate.

To read more about GrowWise with an interview with its global director of city farming, check out the original story here.


Leave a Reply