To grow a plant, you need water, nutrients, and sunlight. Right? Well, the largest vertical farm in the US doesn’t use that last part.
In Chicago, Illinois, the US’s largest greenhouse run by Green Sense Farms, LLC has incorporated LEDs into its system, tailoring the light for each type of produce and using what they call “light recipes”. Covering about one million cubic feet of space, the vertical farm is using innovating growing methods and cutting edge light technology to grow more by using less.
“Different plant types have different light needs,” said Udo van Slooten, Director of horticultural lighting at Philips. “GSF is using vertical hydroponic technology with Phillips LED growing lights, enabling them to do what no other grower can do: provide a consistent amount of high quality produce, year round.”
Judging by the pictures, it seems more suited to call the vertical farm a “purple house”. With an almost neon glow pouring over the space, the inside of the farm looks like anything but “natural”. Yet, scientists say that the light is better suited for the plant’s needs. Philips says they’ve been working on this kind of technology since 1936, and with LED technology more prevalent, they say they can use “tailor-made light recipes optimized to the needs of specific crops,” while using 85 percent less energy than traditional farming.
Besides providing significant energy savings, Green Sense Farms’s hydroponic design also allows for consistent produce year round, while using one-tenth of the water, land and fertilizer the traditional farm might use.
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“By growing our crops vertically, we are able to pack more plants per acre than we would have in a field farm, which results in more harvests per year,” said Robert Colangelo, Founder and President of Green Sense Farms. “We produce little waste, no agricultural runoff and minimal greenhouse gasses because the food is grown where it is consumed.”
If we can get over the purple, we have a feeling we’d dig the green.
FEATURED PHOTO: Gizmodo