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'Europe's largest' vertical urban farm arises in Sweden

The Swedish initiative Grönska Stadsodling focuses on sustainable urban cultivation throughout the year using small surface areas. The crops are grown in a system with high/narrow cabinets that provide LED lighting and nutrients. The project began as a start-up by Petter Olsson, Robin Lee and Natalie de Brun Skantz. They are now opening their second growing location in Huddinge, near Stockholm. This will be one of the largest vertical urban farms in Europe.

Grönska grows and sells varieties of lettuce and cabbage. The new nursery farm in Huddinge has a capacity of 1.3 million plants per year. "We think that vertical cultivation is the future. At the moment, we import large amounts of food in Sweden and that's no longer desirable or feasible, considering the climate," says Natalie de Brun Skantz. Vertical cultivation requires less water and soil. Further, it allows farming in countries with a cold climate, throughout the year.

The company aims at expanding the number of products. For example, Grönska is already experimenting with strawberries, raspberries, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and edible flowers. In fiscal year 2017/18, which ended in April last year, Grönska had a turnover of 130,000 euros and an operating result of around 15,000 euros. By 2020, revenues are expected to reach 1.5 million euros. Grönska is a young company that has developed its own technology, instead of relying on external suppliers. This means that their operating costs remain relatively low.

In the future, Grönska wants to continue investing and expanding its activities to other cities in Sweden and even other countries. This could include the Netherlands, Japan and the US.


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