In Denmark, in Copenhagen to be precise, a 22,000 square meter vertical farm will soon begin to produce 1,000 tons of vegetables per year.
It is too early to tell if this is the future of farming, but the Danish company that runs the farm, in collaboration with a Taiwanese tech company, says that similar structures, if they are as large as 20 soccer fields, would be able to meet the country's entire vegetable demand.
The farm was built by YesHealth Group, a Taiwanese company that has spent the last decade developing vertical farming technologies.
YesHealth Group developed the largest vertical farm in Taiwan, which is profitable (unlike many North American vertical farm startups), and the largest vertical farm in China (currently, the Chinese farm provides food to employees instead of selling it). In Denmark, the company partnered with Nordic Harvest, a startup that aims to make food production more sustainable through technology.
Like most other indoor farms, the Danish facility relies on hydroponic growing, a technology that requires little water and no pesticides. It therefore also reduces the risk of outbreaks such as salmonella that can occur on outdoor farms. The company produces its own LED lights, which have become much more efficient over the last ten years: obviously electricity is one of the biggest costs of this type of farming. But no problem: the new farm will be totally powered by wind energy.
When the vegetables are sold in Danish supermarkets, starting next January, they will be priced similarly to organic products, although Stella Tsai, general manager of YesHealth Group, says they will also compete with conventional products. YesHealth Group plans to expand to other locations in Europe and next year will also move to Singapore, the Philippines, Dubai, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.