Alternative farming - Hydroponics

Is farming and food production bad for the environment? No! Why would you even think of such a silly question?

Well, the trick is that the amount of people on our planet is growing exponentially, while the amount of farmable land is not. And what do people usually do to get more land for farming? Yup, they cut down forests.

But what if we told you that there are means of growing high-quality food in larger quantities, without cutting down trees and while using 95% less water?

And what if told you that it is possible to harvest the vegetables fifteen (15) times a year on a much smaller patch of land?

Let’s finish the intro with this silly question- what if we told you that such technologies have been available for decades? Yes, that is true!

Alright, we know that by now you are eager to learn about these magical innovations - let us introduce you to Anders Riemann, the head of Nordic Harvest.

He has an unusual farm not far Copenhagen, Denmark, where he grows different types of green vegetables and salads - basil, spinach, arugula and more. Yet, it is not the type of food he is growing that caught our attention.

Take a look at the picture - yes! The farm is vertical! What? Yes, instead of using our precious land (and Denmark is not that big, to be honest, so the land is precious indeed), Nordic Harvest decided to upscale the farm, literally.

Fourteen floors of fresh veggies are being grown here with the use of LED-lights for photosynthesis.

Do you see any external threats to the well-being of the plants? Insects, harsh rains and winds, excessive heat? Nope. That leaves the plants more powers to be used to grow faster and healthier - it only takes them 2-3 weeks to become ready for the party in your tummy!

You might ask - but what about the soil? You gotta have a lot of soil, to grow that many plants. What is the difference between vertical farms and ordinary farms, if the key element is still soil?

Here is the catch - there is no soil. Nowhere. The plants grow in water, it’s called hydroponics. The water is not ordinary though, it is filled with heathy ingredients that allow the plant to stay healthy. One of the smart tricks to improving the fertility of the water is the roots themselves - they are the main source of fertilisation, they get fermented and added some natural minerals - they guys at Nordic Harvest call it Bio-fertiliser, and claim it to be more effective and natural, than artificial fertilisers.

The water gets, of course, recycled. As noticed before, all of this allows to make the water consumption 95% less than with ordinary agriculture.

One last thing to make you more interested in this projects - the way the company consumes electricity. Any ideas? Of course, it is wind energy! Nordic Harvest uses certified electricity from the numerous windmills of Denmark to power this vertical farm (which is mostly using it for the LED-lamps, which in turn consume as little electricity as possible).

And talking about windmills - check out this article about wind energy in Denmark:

Thus NordicHarves checks out many of the Sustainable Development goal in one go. Let’s count them together:

2 - Zero Hunger

12 - Responsible consumption and production

13 - Climate action

Any additions? Let us know!

Did you get inspired by this practice?

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