A tomato flat: growing vegetables in the city
Urbanization is increasing worldwide. To supply the growing populations in cities with fresh vegetables, Wageningen horticultural specialists are conducting research into vertical farming. With this technique, crops are grown indoors year-round with the help of LED light and in layers on top of each other. Land and water use decline enormously, and pesticides and shipping over far distances are a thing of the past. The researchers are looking at how vertical farming can be more energy efficient, and the vegetables even more nutritious and tastier. Is a tomato flat a good idea?
Vertical farming takes place in buildings – the crops are grown on top of each other in several layers. “In a high-rise building – on a surface area about the size of a soccer field – you can grow enough vegetables for 100,000 people who each eat 250 grams of vegetables a day. You have complete control over the production process, so you are not dependent on the weather, the temperature, the daylight and the season. This makes vertical farming possible everywhere – also in infertile areas, in the desert or on Mars”, says Leo Marcelis, professor of Horticulture.