Vertical farming is often associated with the future of agriculture. But an increasing number of large scale projects across the world are proof that that future is quickly morphing into the present.
The most recent proof of this phenomenon is the first-phase completion of one of Europe’s largest vertical farm projects, which is ready to deliver its first crop of organic salads and herbs to local businesses.
Its initial phase is expected to have an output of 200 tons of produce annually, but the facility will be expanded to 14 stories and 7,000 square meters over the next year, scaling its production capacity to 1,000 tons per year.
Salads and herbs, including baby spinach, mint, basil, and cilantro, are planted across several floors inside the building and protected from harsh weather conditions. Their nutrients are sourced from an in-house bio-fertilizer that’s made from the fermented roots of previously harvested crops with added natural minerals.
In a circular manner, spent water is filtered and reused, helping the vertical facility to use much less water than traditional farming. On top of that, the controlled environment allows the production process to eliminate the use of pesticides.
It takes about 2-3 weeks for each crop to grow from seed to ripe, which means that harvesting is expected to take place 15 times per year. According to Nordic Harvest, the first harvest is reserved for local commercial kitchens, but starting from next year, consumers will be able to buy their produce from supermarkets.