Cutting emissions is a constant struggle for the planet, especially when the food we rely on must be transported miles from where we find it neat and tidy in the grocery store. The emissions caused by the transportation of agricultural goods is what made the indoor farming company Green Sense Farms (GSF) and Philips the electronic company, team up and create a clean alternative to traditional farming. Farms take up acres of land and require large amounts of water for crops, but what LED manufactures have proven is that food can be grown vertically in warehouses and the LED light bulbs require less water and energy.
“The average tomato is trucked 1,500 miles from where it’s picked in the winter and it sits on that truck for a week or more. By the time it gets to a northern market, it has been in the dark for a while and its quality is degraded. Yet you pay a premium for it—up to four dollars a pound in January.” – Cary Mitchell, Purdue University horticulture professor
In the city farm prototype located in Chicago, the researchers have learned the LED Lights don’t heat up like the traditionally used bulbs for greenhouse plants, which would allow growers to use less water. The developers are also working on what they call “light Recipes” that will optimize growing for different plant varieties. The Prototype warehouse fits fourteen 25-foot racks that stretch from wall to wall of the 30,000 square-foot-space that produces 4,000 cases of produce per week. Gus van der Feltz the director of city farming explained, “GSF is using vertical hydroponic technology with Philips LED growing lights, enabling them to do what no other grower can do: providing a consistent amount of high-quality produce, year round.” Vertical farms are a clean way to farm that would provide cities and people with locally grown food that cuts back on transport emissions.