I have written about vertical farming before on this blog. Hence I was interested when I saw a story on CNN this morning. It profiles a Singaporean venture called “Sky Greens” that has been running innovative city farms for a while. Their farms are a little different than the monstrous ones imagined by mainly concept artists and (possibly weird) scientists. They remain quite small to this date and although the CEO of the company has big plans, they don’t seem megalomaniac.
The produce they sell to local supermarkets is about 40% more pricey than Chinese imports. It would probably be even more if it wasn’t for the subsidies the venture receives from the Singaporean government. However, that doesn’t make the “local” Pak Choi and salad astronomically expensive and perhaps on par with organic veg.
I like the technology employed here as well: rather than using expensive hydroponic solutions and artificial lighting, Sky Greens looks more like a stacked aluminium greenhouse, using a patented rotation technique:
Slowly rotating on water-powered, aluminum A-frames, the vegetables pass through a trough of water every eight hours. The water powering the frames is recycled and filtered before returning to the plants. All organic waste on the farm is composted and reused.
“The plants don’t get overstressed under the sun… at the same time they can get nutrients in the water equally,” says [CEO] Ng.
All in all, this perhaps represents a workable medium-term solution to vertical farming in light-rich and warm environments.