As the name 'Vertical Farming' suggests, the plants are grown on top of each other. This naturally saves space, so that significantly more can be produced on 1sqm of land than in conventional farming. Land consumption can therefore be significantly reduced.
Vertical Farming not only saves space, but also water. If one head of lettuce needs about 120 liters of water until harvest in conventional agriculture, this amount can be drastically reduced with Vertical Farming. The Plantcube requires 120 liters in an entire year at full capacity – thanks to the closed water circuit.
With an average distance of more than 1,500 kilometers from the point of growth of fruits and vegetables to the point of consumption (1,500 to 2,500 miles in the U.S.), food miles are one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. In addition, urbanization means more and more people will move to cities, so that's where most food will be purchased and consumed. Due to the space-saving cultivation, Vertical Farms can be built directly on the outskirts of cities. In this way, transport can be reduced – which is not only good for the environment, but also for the nutritional value of the plants.
With the Plantcube, even more kilometers can be saved and nutrients preserved, as Salads, Microgreens and Herbs are grown directly in your home and only harvested immediately before consumption.
After several days on the road and on the shelves, fruits and vegetables lose most of their nutritional value before they are even consumed. On average, they lose 45% of their nutrients in the first 24 hours after harvest. With Vertical Farming, the transport distances are very short, or even non-existent (such as with the Plantcube), which is why the nutrients still make it onto the plate.
In Vertical Farms, optimal conditions always prevail for plant growth – 365 days a year. Climate, light and irrigation are controlled and thus adapted to the needs of the plants. The fruit and vegetables are therefore not exposed to external environmental influences such as storms, hail, too much heat or rain and can concentrate fully on perfect development.
"With Vertical Farms, we may not be able to feed the world at the moment, but in the short term we can already deliver fresher and more nutritious ingredients to the kitchens. And with the data we generate about plants in the process over time, we can make a decisive contribution to more efficient cultivation and healthier nutrition for the world in the long term." – Max Loessl
As already described, in Vertical Farming the plants grow under optimal conditions. This also means growing plants independent of season. Your favourite foods can be grown on site all year round and do not have to travel from far away.
Pesticides can also be dispensed within Vertical Farming – thanks to automatic watering, climate and light control. This is not only good for people, but also for the environment. And so we come directly to the next point:
Most fields are depleted and have less and less nutrients. The reasons for this are all the fertilizers, pesticides and monocultures. And all this just to make the plant as perfect and efficient as possible. Vertical Farming uses the technology of hydroponics, that is, cultivation without soil.
It is estimated that we have already lost 75% of all crops due to industrial agriculture. Vertical Farming can specialize precisely in such rare varieties and preserve them. Moreover, thanks to controlled and controllable conditions, it is possible to cultivate a variety of plants. Driving across town to find Tatsoi, for example, becomes obsolete.
Because the plants are grown indoors under controlled conditions, there is no need to worry about air or water pollution. This is especially important in countries like China or after a catastrophe – like the one in Fukushima.
Fruits and vegetables have the highest waste rate of all foods. In the EU and the USA, more than 50% of produce is wasted. About one-third is production-related (e.g. not up to standard), one-third is distribution-related (e.g. damage), and one-third is consumption-related (e.g., a package size that is too large). However, with the help of Vertical Farming, these numbers can be drastically reduced because you can harvest only what is needed. There are no packaging sizes or damage due to transportation, nor are plants thrown away due to another standard.
To ensure quality during transport and on the shelf, food is mostly wrapped in plastic. However, this food packaging now accounts for about one-third of average household waste and therefore has a major impact on the environmental footprint. Much of this packaging waste is saved in Vertical Farming, as - in the best case scenario - produce is harvested directly at home onto the plate.
Plant-based foods are enjoying a great demand due to their versatility and health benefits. The origin of food is also playing an increasingly important role for consumers, as transport routes and the unnecessary consumption of resources are increasingly being questioned. Conscious interaction with nature is in the foreground. At the same time, the population in cities is increasing more and more as part of the urbanization megatrend, whereby we have to make do with smaller living spaces per capita and without access to our own gardens.
This is precisely where Vertical Farming can help. The enormous advantage of the Plantcube: you know exactly where your ingredients come from and how they were grown. In your own four walls, without pesticides or long transport routes. The result? Greens with incomparable taste, exceptional textures and optimal nutritional content.