The Danish supermarket chains Føtex and Bilka are already selling salads and herbs grown in vertical gardens, thanks to the agreement between Nordic Harvest and Salling Group, the largest retailer in Denmark, which owns several chain stores - including Føtex and Bilka.
Nordic Harvest is one of the largest vertical gardens in the world and it is located in Grønttorvet, near Copenhagen. On 14 floors, the company grows salads and herbs in water in a closed and controlled environment that offers the plants the optimal conditions for their growth without the need for pesticides.
The initiative, which is echoed by the trend platform of the Retail Knowledge area of Aecoc, is similar to the one launched at the end of last year by the Israeli chain Rami Levy, which, in collaboration with Vertical Field technology, began operating these vertical orchards in four establishments of the chain in an initiative that the retailer will gradually extend throughout 2021.
Crops marketed include green leafy vegetables and herbs, such as kale, lettuce, basil, coriander, dill, parsley, and mint.
The vertical growing system offers significant savings in growing space. According to estimates published by IDTechEx, it could allow 20-30 times higher yields per acre than normal farming. Vertical farming can achieve yields hundreds of times higher than in the same space of conventional farmland by using advanced farming methods, such as hydroponics and LED lighting tailored to the exact photosynthetic needs of crops.
In addition, it uses 90% less water than traditional field farming.
These are not the only benefits of this cultivation technique, as producers also shorten the production process by 20 days when compared to the typical sowing to harvest growth cycle and the system is resistant to the elements and pests.
Moreover, the system allows achieving a significant reduction in the carbon footprint by producing vegetables in the urban environments where they are consumed.