Innovations in Greenhouse and Indoor Gardening Boost Sustainability and Automation

Discover this week's latest development from the world of Controlled Environment Agriculture.

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This Week in Indoor Farming: Pioneering Partnerships and Technologies Propel Greenhouse and Hydroponic Growth

WA3RM, a Swedish company specializing in sustainable agriculture, has partnered with KUBO, a leader in greenhouse technology, to expand modern greenhouse vegetable production in Scandinavia using waste heat from industrial processes. This collaboration aims to set up 200 hectares of advanced greenhouses, beginning with a 20-hectare facility in Sweden dedicated to tomatoes, which could match the nation's current tomato production capacity. This project utilizes a circular, eco-friendly model to reduce energy costs, making vegetable cultivation more sustainable and profitable. The initiative not only aims to increase Scandinavia's self-sufficiency in vegetables but also positions it as a potential net exporter in Europe. This aligns with increasing demand for sustainable, plant-based foods and addresses environmental concerns like water shortages and reliance on fossil fuels in agriculture.

Vertefarm introduces its innovative hydroponic microplant factory, priced at $799, designed to enable convenient and aesthetically pleasing indoor gardening. This compact unit integrates advanced technologies such as a vertical surface planting, root cyclic drip irrigation, and a unique lighting system optimized for green leafy plants, along with a pioneering UV light to maintain a bacteria-free water environment. The system also features smart control via an app, enhancing user convenience. Aimed at reducing the ecological footprint of traditional agriculture, the hydroponic system also improves indoor air quality by absorbing CO2 and emitting water vapor, supporting Vertefarm's mission to increase self-reliance in food production and bring sustainable farming solutions directly into homes. This aligns with the growing demand for accessible, sustainable, and technologically advanced in-home gardening solutions.

Researchers from WUR Vision + Robotics and Viscon are collaborating on a project to develop a machine learning and plant phenotyping technology for the automated selection of healthy young plants for greenhouse transplantation. This innovative technology, which includes an RGB camera with a pericentric lens capable of 360-degree imaging, aims to revolutionize greenhouse operations by making the process of sorting viable plants from non-viable ones more efficient and less labor-intensive. The use of AI to assess plant health and predict survivability marks a significant shift from traditional manual or semi-automated methods. This advancement is not only applicable to tissue-culture-grown plants but could also enhance the cultivation of various key agricultural crops, offering a substantial improvement in horticultural automation and potentially transforming the agricultural industry by optimizing resource allocation and reducing the reliance on human labor in plant selection processes.

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