The story.

Vertical farming involves using LED light to grow products in air conditioned rooms without sunlight. This innovative approach to cultivation is still in its infancy but has started to attract more and more interest. It is an excellent sustainable alternative to existing cultivation methods. The Vertical Farming method can be implemented everywhere and guarantees fresh, sustainable and high quality products for the (local) market. Indoor Farms are used to simulate natural conditions and can be implemented anywhere in the world to supply products of excellent quality all year round. Staay Food Group is planning a Vertical Farm to grow the lettuce varieties Lollo Rosso, Lollo Biondo and Frisee.

The tests we carry out in this project tell us which varieties are best suited for cultivation in Vertical Farms.

Wim Grootscholten
Marketing & Business Development Manager at Rijk Zwaan

Sustainable growing

Our plant specialists at the Philips GrowWise research centre have proven that it is possible to cultivate using only LED light. They are using a variety of seeds to test for the most suitable lettuce varieties.

Udo van Slooten
Business Leader Horticulture at Signify

Why?

Staay Food Group has decided to start a large-scale pilot project in its convenience factory in Dronten, where fruit and vegetables are processed into e.g. pre-packed salads. There are many benefits of growing, harvesting and processing within a single building. For instance, consumers receive extremely fresh products, which have a longer shelf-life because processing is accelerated and transport is eliminated. In addition, there is no need to use pesticides because products are grown in an enclosed environment. Water is also used very efficiently during the cultivation process, which means the product is extremely sustainable from a variety of perspectives. This approach is perfectly compatible with our chain management philosophy. Staay Food Group wants to personally control as much of the supply chain as possible: from the cultivation to the production of pre-packed salads, and all steps in between.

Sustainable packaging

Everything under control.

Fully enclosed Farms grow products without using daylight. This is done by hanging specially developed LED lights above products like lettuce. By regulating the intensity and colour of the lights, and actively managing the climate, it is possible to accurately manage how the lettuce grows. Besides growth, the bite, colour, taste and even vitamin content can be regulated. An intelligent climate computer manages and registers all aspects of lighting, irrigation, temperature and air humidity, and ensures effective energy management.

Vertical Farming is an extremely sustainable way for us to continuously supply uniquely fresh products, which are of the very best quality and also have a longer shelf-life.

Rien Panneman
Staay Food Group

How to recognize in stores?

Strong together.

This new approach to cultivation requires a broad approach. Expertise in the field of lighting, growing recipes, suitable products and farming techniques was essential when developing this method of cultivation. If the whole concept is to be successful, it is also very important to train growers and researchers. That is why Staay Food Group has decided to work within a consortium. Together with our partners, we see the project in Dronten as a learning process that allows every member of the consortium to gain knowledge and experience.

Every day is a perfect growing day in the vertical farm, always assured of a healthy and top quality product.

Hein van der Sande
CEO Certhon

Progress.

The convenience factory where the Vertical Farm will be housed has been newly built and should have been handed over in June 2017. However, for a variety of reasons, we have had to revise the timing for the Vertical Farm. Due to delays in the handover of the convenience factory, and the subsequent desire to upscale to full production capacity as quickly as possible, work on the Vertical Farm could only be started at a later date. In the meantime, further testing is being carried out in a pilot set-up at an external location, which will hopefully allow lettuce of perfect quality to be supplied from the factory. In any case, the results are very promising. An announcement will be made once we know when the first products from our Vertical Farm will be available in supermarkets. (Source of pictures: Philips GrowWise Center)

Smart use of space, natural resources and energy encourages the production of healthy and safe food. With vertical farming we can make a significant contribution in the development of a more sustainable food production for the city.

Dr. ir. C.G. (Corné) Kocks
Head of Research Aeres UAS Dronten

The Future of Fresh

Staay Food Group

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