The average person probably does not think twice when picking out-of-season produce all year round. Eating seasonally and locally are now personal preferences rather than realities of life. While convenient, the drawback is that non-locally grown produce has likely traveled thousands of miles to make it to your grocery store. It is lower in nutrients and in flavor; and worst of all, it has a massive carbon footprint. Danish company Nordic Harvest and YesHealth Group (a Taiwanese tech company with decades of vertical farming experience) have paired up to create a massive wind-powered vertical farm that will soon change the way Danes eat their leafy greens.
The new facility will grow about 1,000 tons of food—condensing into a single building what would have taken about 20 soccer fields of traditional land. Aside from a smaller physical footprint, the vertical farm will also drastically reduce the carbon footprint of locally consumed produce. Crops will now be produced just outside of Copenhagen and will hit local grocery stores by January 2021.
Nordic Harvest hopes that the new facility is the first step toward making important environmental change in Denmark. They believe that humans have to take responsibility for the impact everyday life has on the planet. “We have become accustomed to being able to eat the same foods all year round at the competitive prices and always freshly delivered,” the company says. “And with that, we have created a food structure that—somewhat squarely said—means that we clear rainforest in the tropics when we buy an avocado in Denmark.” Condensing land and bringing transparency into the food structure may help the effort to restore Denmark’s forests and educate consumers.
For YesHealth Group, the new vertical farm will help their global expansion in the field of sustainable food technology. The company developed the LED lights for ultimate efficiency and integrated hydroponic technology that grows plants with minimal water and without the use of pesticides. Best of all, the entire facility will be powered by wind. They describe that this new vertical farm is the result of years of designing similar systems in Asia. The new farm is at the forefront of technological advancements in this field, meaning that produce will soon be economically competitive with traditionally grown crops and that we can hope to expect more vertical farms in the near future.