The best-read VerticalFarmDaily articles of 2022
Time flies by when you’re having… fun? 2022 has been a fruitful year for many given the allowance to travel again, but it has also been a tricky one for some farmers due to the high energy costs.
The following list includes the top 10 articles published in 2022 by VerticalFarmDaily. 2022 has been quite a fluctuating year for the industry as there have been bankruptcies, investments, various new providers that entered the market, and numerous trade fairs we’ve participated in.
Anyhow, besides these trends, we’ve also written a bunch articles ourselves. Curious about what gained the most interest? Buckle up, here we go.
1. Aquaponic specialist building her own farm in South Africa. This article features Gugulethu Mahlangu, a 29-year-old farmer in the Gauteng region of South Africa. Gugulethu would like to develop a smart city with various forms of agriculture and training programs to support farmers and locals in the transition. For now, she plans to start small with a 0.5-ha greenhouse.
2. The industry responds to Infarm news
In November, the news broke that Infarm was laying off about 500 employees. Having said that, the company fired an additional 50 employees in September this year. The facts are there. But how did the industry respond to the news?
As many shared their opinion on LinkedIn, VFD had put some of these ‘thoughts’ together. Check it out below.
Loop Farms’ concept farm
3. Germany: No land, no problem – vertical farming on urban waterways
Loop Farms, a German agtech decided to build its prototype farm in southeast Berlin, but it’s rather a unique design. The company is working on modular, zero-waste systems that integrate regenerative nutrient production, waste-to-substrate upcycling, pollinator housing, integrated solar panels and low-energy water treatment.
The prototype farm occupies 18 square meters, with the greenhouse section taking 7.3 square meters. The idea of this prototype is to prove that each of the components can work together efficiently.
4. Zambia: “We produce 5,000 units of lettuce per week, per tunnel, year-round”
Speaking of growing the impossible, Hakuna Matata Farms owner Milo Miladinovic was featured in an article where they show off their hybrid greenhouse in Zambia.
According to Milo, domestic growers mainly grow two varieties of lettuce. Whereas Hakuna Matata farms aims to supply a broader basket of goods. They have been in talks with many big chains and retailers here which were trying to keep the shopping basket despite seasonal changes. Milo was planning on doing hydroponic cultivation to better support the food supply chain.
Jaick Agricultural Produce’s strawberry towers
5. Kenya: ‘Vertical garden’ delivers up to 5kg of strawberries a month
Jaick Agricultural Produce their systems surprised many as the setup is not a usual one you’d see passing by. The Kenyan vertical garden supplier has vertical gardens in a closed greenhouse and an open field setup. Given the low-cost setups they offer, the majority of customers go for the open field setup to save on costs.
The majority of Kenyans in urban areas (56%) buy food from supermarkets, whereas the other 35% buy produce from kiosks and groceries, according to a survey released by mobile phone pollster Geopoll in 2015. “We’re, therefore, very excited about the potential opportunities vertical farming presents to address food security in that aspect,” shared Benson Maina, founder of Jaick Produce.
6. Indoor growing system for cherry tomatoes where no labor is needed
In July, Certhon launched its Gronos concept where cherry tomatoes are grown indoors from start to finish, without human hands touching the fruits. They are aiming to save on energy and labor, plus the growing demand for locally produced food.
“We started a joint venture with breeding company HW Seeds for plants in factory cultivation, precisely because the plant is a crucial part of the process. Although ultimately, we hope that the larger breeders will also start developing varieties for indoor cultivation.”
The A-Plus farm
7. Japan: Meeting high lettuce demand through automated vertical farm production
The A-Plus, a vertical farming supplier from Japan has high hopes for tech and the future of agriculture, removing multiple barriers. While making use of national subsidies to develop new agtech innovations, A-Plus will be evolving constantly.
A-Plus has a total site area of 9,092m2, whereas the cultivation space comprises 5212m2. The products are sold to food processing companies. Some companies offer food for convenience stores. Toru explains that in Japan, the lettuce demand is approximately 600,000 tons per year, so vegetables are in high demand. “Fortunately for us, we can grow lettuce in a very short period of time and efficiently.”
8. More sustainable and cheaper vertical farming by combining textiles and fogponics
“We moved away from conventional hydroponics to fogponics, which reduces heat stress in roots and improves root zone surface area, which both results in higher metabolism and lower maintenance requirements,” says Martin Peter, co-founder and CEO of Lite+Fog. This German agtech company builds aeroponic-type vertical farming systems.
Lite+Fog has designed vertical growing towers which are hollow, completely made of textiles and fed by a fine fog filled with nutrients. While the plants’ aboveground biomass grows on the outer side of the column, the roots grow in this hollow interior and are nourished by this nutrient-rich mist.
Urban Harvest co-founders
9. No-nonsense vertical farming solution for strawberry cultivation
Urban Harvest caught the eye of many readers as well. The Belgian-based agtech aims to reduce the use of arable land and give it back to nature to improve biodiversity. They provide no-nonsense vertical farming solutions to grow strawberries and leafy greens and to propagate cuttings. Urban Harvest has a proven track record in designing and building commercially viable vertical farming solutions.
10. From lettuce to shrimps in container farms, with promising margins
Atarraya’s Shrimpbox technology gave another example of how to recycle freight containers for good. These custom crates can be set up anywhere on the planet, integrating the best elements of biotechnology, software, and hardware. Shrimp raised in these mobile aquaculture farms will be produced ethically without antibiotics and chemicals and can be eaten hours after harvest.
We can’t wait to see what awaits the industry in 2023. Feel free to reach out whenever you’d like to share any news with us!