Future Crops, which operates a multilevel indoor vertical farm, has announced that it is now relying exclusively on 100% renewable energy by harnessing solar and wind energy.
Future Crops (Westland, Netherlands), which operates a multilevel indoor vertical farm, has announced that it is now relying exclusively on 100% renewable energy by harnessing solar and wind energy. This is important to advancing its goals of sustainability because while multistory vertical farming optimized land use, boost food resilience, and brings food sources closer to home, even within dense urban locales, the method can be rather energy intensive.
“Vertical farming is an emerging industry that is gaining traction due to its multiple virtues,” explained Gary Grinspan, co-founder and CEO of Future Crops. “We are able to grow tremendous amounts of high-value food on a much smaller stretch of land—approximately 5% of the land required for conventional agriculture. And having no reliance on seasonality amplifies growing cycles tenfold. This means we can grow more, faster while concurrently cutting the food mileage. Our produce also has a naturally longer shelf-life which cuts food waste and eliminates ecotoxicity to people and the earth since no pesticides or harmful chemicals are required. The Future Crops system also addresses the downside of the controlled indoor methods of growing crops: high energy consumption due to crops being unable to soak up natural sunlight.”
Future Crops began operating in 2018 with the goal of making their process more sustainable and reach carbon neutrality. That is why the company chose a site that had a structure of 18,000 solar panels. By 2019, Future Crops was able to connect to the solar panels, substantially reducing its reliance on energy from fossil fuels. This year, by incorporating wind energy, Future Crops has shifted entirely to renewable energy sources. Besides the shift to renewable energy, the company also improved efficiency throughout its process.
“We bolstered our farm’s infrastructure and insulation capabilities,” explained Grinspan. “We also sought solutions to further improve our cultivation processes to be more energy-efficient, including boosting yields. At the same time, we began a gradual migration to renewable energy.”
All its resources, says Future Crops, are reused and recycled. This includes 97% of the water. Its soil substrates that have undergone several growth cycles are also sold to other growers who treat and reuse it themselves. To eliminate food waste, Future Crops also sells produce that does not meet the visual specifications to be sold in retail, to food producers. Unfortunately, traditional agriculture is becoming less sustainable as resources become overextended.
“The lack of available land for food growth has led to a cascade of problems, beginning with the conversion of forests into agricultural land,” explained Susanne Mosmans, business unit director & CMO of Future Crops. “Deforestation already has disrupted the healthy balance of carbon and oxygen emissions, leading to rising temperatures that negatively impact crops growth and yields. This has sparked the need to think out of the box. And that’s where vertical farming comes in. It offers the ultimate solution to make healthy, sustainable food accessible to all.”