Environment

Wind-powered vertical veggie farm harvests first crops

Wind-powered vertical veggie f...
The Nordic Harvest vertical farm on the outskirts of Copenhagen in Denmark is expected to scale up production to 1,000 tonnes of salads and herbs per annum during 2021
The Nordic Harvest vertical farm on the outskirts of Copenhagen in Denmark is expected to scale up production to 1,000 tonnes of salads and herbs per annum during 2021
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The Nordic Harvest vertical farm on the outskirts of Copenhagen in Denmark is expected to scale up production to 1,000 tonnes of salads and herbs per annum during 2021
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The Nordic Harvest vertical farm on the outskirts of Copenhagen in Denmark is expected to scale up production to 1,000 tonnes of salads and herbs per annum during 2021
The salad and herb crops are grown across 14 stories, with the LED lighting powered by certified wind energy
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The salad and herb crops are grown across 14 stories, with the LED lighting powered by certified wind energy
The Nordic Harvest operation is expected to scale up to produce 1,000 tonnes of salads and herbs per year
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The Nordic Harvest operation is expected to scale up to produce 1,000 tonnes of salads and herbs per year
The first phase of construction is complete, with the remainder of the facility growing to 7,000 square meters during 2021
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The first phase of construction is complete, with the remainder of the facility growing to 7,000 square meters during 2021
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The first phase of construction on one of Europe's largest vertical farm projects is now complete, and the first crop of organic salads and herbs is reportedly ready for delivery to local businesses.

The YesHealth Group and Nordic Harvest A/S started building the vertical farm in April, at northern Europe's largest wholesale market in Grønttorvet near Copenhagen in Denmark. The initial phase is expected to result in the production of some 200 tonnes of produce annually, but the facility will be expanded to 14 stories and 7,000 sq m (over 75,000 sq ft) during 2021, and production scaled up to 1,000 tonnes per year.

The Nordic Harvest operation is expected to scale up to produce 1,000 tonnes of salads and herbs per year
The Nordic Harvest operation is expected to scale up to produce 1,000 tonnes of salads and herbs per year

Salads and veggies such as baby spinach, mint, basil and cilantro are planted across several floors inside the building, shielded from weather extremes, with their roots in water and lighting and heating needs met by more than 20,000 LEDs powered by certified wind energy.

All of the organic seeds are sprouted in gel until the roots take hold, with nutrients coming from an in-house bio-fertilizer that's made from the fermented roots of previously harvested crops with added natural minerals. Spent water is filtered and reused, helping the setup use much less water than traditional farming. And the controlled environment also means that the production process does not involve the use of pesticides.

The first phase of construction is complete, with the remainder of the facility growing to 7,000 square meters during 2021
The first phase of construction is complete, with the remainder of the facility growing to 7,000 square meters during 2021

Each crop takes about 2-3 weeks from seed to fully grown, which means that harvesting is expected to take place 15 times per year. Nordic Harvest says that the first harvest has been reserved for use in commercial kitchens, but expects commercially available crops to appear in supermarkets early next year.

Meanwhile YesHealth will use data gathered by smart software to inform the designs of future vertical farm installations across Europe, Asia and the Middle East and North Africa.

Sources: YesHealth, Nordic Harvest

View gallery - 4 images
5 comments
5 comments
piperTom
"Each crop takes about 2-3 weeks ..., which means..." not much about harvesting. Maybe that's their plan, but wouldn't it be much better--for both staff and customers--to plant in phases. Having regular deliveries on the same day every week would lead to menu planning by customers and a more even work load for staff.
tony
Look like someone will be getting pesticide free food. Lower rates of Parkinson's disease and cancer.
martinwinlow
This (very obviously) the future of agriculture - certainly for this sort of high-value produce. Aside from the *massive* savings in water use, energy use, too, will be hugely impacted. No need to use diesel-powered machines to bash soil around many times during a typical crop cycle; ploughing, prepping seed beds, seed-sewing, applying fertiliser and then pesticides, and finally harvesting (and possibly post-harvest processes such as baling plant residues etc).

Environments which would typically be unsuited to raising such crops (eg sunny, hot and dry) would suddenly become near ideal, providing as they would, all the energy needed by adding a suitably sized PV array and battery storage. Scarcity of water would no longer be a bar to generation of mass-cash-crops.

The only down side would be loss of jobs on the basis that much of the operation would be automated... but that's already the case with most Western-based agriculture anyway.
ljaques
I wonder if by "crop" they mean one tiered stack. The stacks look too close to harvest, too, so I wonder what method they use. Maybe the trays are hooked together and they remove them tray by tray from the end, sliding the array as they go. Interesting setup.
Aross
I'm curious as to how cost effective this operation will be. How will the prices compare to the traditionally grown product. Finally how do they compare nutritionally. As for pesticide free,how will they keep pests at bay should they find a way into the facility.