Spain: Edible micro vegetables without soil or sun

One day, Juan Naudín, a native of the Spanish city of Zaragoza, decided to dedicate himself to agriculture. But he did it with a very innovative project: the cultivation of edible micro vegetables, young plants that are born from vegetable seeds and which are picked after only 10-18 days. This product is increasingly demanded by high cuisine chefs willing to introduce unique qualities to their dishes, as these small plants add intense flavors and aromas.

Zgreens, as the company is called, doesn't use soil, nor does its production grow in the heat of the sun. Its crops are grown hydroponically, and they are not in the open ground or inside a greenhouse, but in closed facilities where state-of-the-art LED lighting technology allows the micro-plants to have perfect climatic conditions all year round.

"Hydroponic cultivation allows the plant to receive exactly the nutrients that it needs, so the product improves in terms of flavor," says Naudin, who further explains that with this technique, it isn't necessary to use pesticides and the products thus grow free of genetically modified organisms, pollution or soil contamination. "Since we grow indoors under controlled conditions, our plants are 100% clean from seed to harvest," he says. He adds that with this type of crop, 90% less water is used than in conventional agriculture thanks to its reuse and recirculation.

This project, "which started with a pilot module" of just 8 square meters, will reach 30 square meters in the near future. "I'm already thinking about expanding, but we won't need more acreage for that, because the crops are grown in five levels, thereby boosting the soil's profitability," explains Naudín. Zgreens will also see its product range grow, as there are currently tests underway to produce indoor celery and cilantro.


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