Urban Farming is the future
Urban farming or city farming is the cultivation of vegetables and herbs in an urban environment. So not like most of us know it in a greenhouse or a field.
The advantages of urban farming are endless. No pesticides are used and the crops are grown directly at the market. It doesn’t get any fresher than this! As a consequence a lot of money and energy is saved on transport and storage costs. Most store-bought vegetables have traveled thousands of miles before being put up for sale. Usually, they have been stored refrigerated all this time, which in turn has an impact on the environment and freshness.
17 years of experience with indoor growing systems
Growing plants in an enclosed space is a discipline that we have mastered through a lot of trial and error. 17 years of designing, manufacturing and testing grow cabinets has resulted in an enormous wealth of knowledge. With this knowledge and experience, we can now quickly realize a design for an indoor city garden in which vegetables and herbs can be grown all year round.
In addition to know-how, we have our own workshop and a wide range of technical horticultural equipment. We can design a custom-made installation and turn any location into a city vegetable garden. This can be done at any desired location and for any desired purpose. For example a school where people want to cultivate for educational reasons. Or for aesthetic reasons in a shop, as a social activity and daytime activity in a nursing home. A restaurant where the chefs themselves harvest those special crops that are not available anywhere else. Or in a fully converted sea container that is placed in a place where there is a temporary need for fresh vegetables.
Most of our urban farming projects are multi layer grow systems.
By using multiple layers, a lot of cultivation surface is created per available square meter. The systems can be used to grow plants in pots with soil or hydroponicly in which case no grow medium at all is used.
Sustainable water and electricity consumption
Our grow installations are recirculating systems. Each drop of water not directly absorbed by the plants is returned to a water tank and offered to the plants again.
The energy-efficient LED grow lights that provide the plants with light give off little heat. Therefore water evaporation by the plant is kept to a minimum.
With relatively little power consumption, these LEDs create enough light in the right spectrum to grow all kinds of vegetables and herbs without the addition of external sunlight. This includes most leafy vegetables, herbs, but also edible flowers such as oxalis.
These factors make it possible for any unused space to be used as an urban garden. As long as there is water and electricity.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of our urban farming systems is that they are easy to maintain and operate. They are very “straightforward” and do not have complicated control software or other equipment that can only be operated by professionals.
The simplicity of our systems enables everyone to become an urban horticulturist. We are of course always available in the background to help and advise you.
Below is a description of a project we recently completed.
At the beginning of December 2021, we realized the first part of this project in the basement of restaurant “Het Seminar” in Zenderen, Netherlands. The Seminar, in possession of a green Michelin star, aims to become 100% self-sufficient. In addition to meadows, vegetable gardens and a food forest, there is now also an indoor garden.
The first part consists of 10m2 of cultivation surface, spread over 2 floors, for growing leafy greens and herbs.
The set-up consists of a pallet rack in which 10 grow trays of 140 x 70 x 15 cm are placed. These are continuously filled from a water tank (wheelie bin) with a water/nutrient solution until there is a level of about 5 cm. With this so-called hydro cultivation method, the plants hang directly with their roots in the water. So no messing with soil or other growing medium.
For the lighting, we opted for 18 pieces of 80 Watt LED grow bars. The entire installation consumes 1440 Watts for the lighting. In addition, about 300 Watts of electricity are consumed by pumps and ventilation systems.
In February 2022 we were asked to build a second part. This time for growing tomatoes and peppers. The hydro cultivation apparently went well because this modus also had to be applied here.
This time we used square PVC pipes that are 150cm long. 7 Pieces in total. To create the same “look” as the first set-up, we again used a pallet rack to place the tubes. Here too, the plants are in baskets that are connected to two water tanks (wheelie bins) for the water supply and drainage.
Because tomato and pepper plants can grow quite large, only one floor can be realized. Growing flowering, fruit-bearing plants requires considerably more light than growing leafy vegetables and herbs. That is why the lighting also had to be adjusted. In this tomato grow rack of approximately 3.4 m2 surface 4 LED grow lights with a power of 250 Watt each are used. So per m2 there is 294 Watt of lighting above the tomatoes. For comparison, there is 144 Watt per m2 above the first cultivation set-up for leafy greens.
The lamps used in the tomato arrangement are dimmable. As a result, less light can be applied in the initial phase when the plants are still small and have less light need. This also saves energy.
There are approximately two months between the delivery of the first and second part of the nursery. When we were installing the second part, the first part was already in full bloom and the cooks were coming and going to harvest the crops.
Would you also like to start an indoor farm for yourself or your organization?
We would like to help you with this. Download the questionnaire below, complete it and email it to us. Based on your answers, we can create an initial design and a no-obligation quote.