Advances In City Farming Tech Could See Most Families Growing Their Own Greens

Philips Electronics, once known for lightbulbs and flat panel televisions, is looking to put a garden inside every urban home thanks to its high tech new indoor gardening system known as GroWise. Using specially designed high tech light cells above racks of soil, Philips is growing leafy vegetables, strawberries and herbs in its labs in order to put the finishing touches on light recipes that encourage faster growth and overall greater yields.

The goal is nothing short than a micro garden in every home capable of producing virtually all the leafy greens it consumes.

Udo van Slouten, Global City Farming Director, believes Philips’ new systems are necessary because of pressing global food supply issues such as the lack of arable land, cost and waste related to food transport and water intensive modern farming techniques.

Scientists Jasper den Besten and Roel Jansen conducted the new research behind Philips’ LED horticulture lighting which explained how different colours of light influence plant behavior.

The light changing techniques allow the company to change the shape, productivity, size and even essential oils of most leafy greens and herbs.

The system, which is targeted at households, stacks up many layers of plants, each with its own light shifting LED system, to produce enormous quantities of food. In a single three foot by three foot area, 900 pots of basil are produced per year. The cells are sealed for strict hygiene which eliminates the need for pesticides and other cleaning chemicals. The system also saves and recycles water, making it an ultra-efficient way to produce high quality greens.

Even the individual components in the system are being developed with a focus on sustainability. The material in which plants grow, for example, is actually made from recycled home insulation.

As city-dwellers grow ever more hungry for locally sourced, healthy, and sustainable food, technologies like GroWise will likely blossom, both at home and also at local supermarkets which are also quickly adopting the systems to avoid missing out on this rapidly growing development.

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