The largest commercial vertical farm will be built in the Netherlands and will be fully operational by the second half of 2017.
Going from research centres or specialist producers serving restaurants, the idea is being implemented at a much larger scale by Staay Food Group, a leading fresh fruit and vegetables company. The new facility will have a 900m2 with a total growing space of over 3,000m2 and will use Philips GreenPower LED horticultural lighting technology.
The decision to build a vertical farm comes in anticipation of stricter regulations on the residual pesticide levels in a bag or bowl of lettuce which will oblige producers to provide high quality, pesticide-free lettuce.
The lettuce that will be grown indoor in the farm has been researched by Staay, Philips Lighting and vegetable breeder Rijk Zwaan in terms of varieties and growth recipes to improve crop quality and yields. By having the right growth recipe prior to the start of operations at the vertical farm will help Staay achieve a faster return on investment.
“Our plant specialists at our Philips GrowWise research center in Eindhoven are testing seeds from a selection of the most suitable lettuce varieties, to define the best growth recipes and to optimize crop growth even before the farm is running,” said Udo van Slooten, Managing Director of Philips Lighting Horticulture LED Solutions.
The opening of the first commercial vertical farm in Europe leads the way for an extremely important trend as they represent a more economic and environmental solution to producing fruits and vegetables closer to where end-customers are located.