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This robot-tended vertical farm will grow 1,000 metric tons of greens per year

Whether it’s autonomous tractors or weed-killing robots, the world of farming has certainly changed a whole lot in recent years. In few places is it more different, however, than at a new vertical farm just outside Copenhagen, Denmark. The hydroponic farm, which boasts 75,000 square feet of densely packed shelves, 14 shelves high, promises to grow close to 1,000 metric tons of pesticide-free, carbon-neutral produce every year.

Anders Riemann, founder of the startup Nordic Harvest, told Digital Trends that this is the future of sustainable farming as we know it. Entirely powered with renewable wind energy from windmills, and with zero environmental damage to nearby streams and rivers, the farm could well prove to be the model of agriculture in the decades to come. Because it’s indoors, where all the conditions can be perfectly fine-tuned, it can produce high-quality food year-round, without having to worry about problems like pests, frosts, draughts, or any of the other issues that could usually affect a farmer’s crops. This, in turn, opens up the opportunity for agricultural land that’s presently used for farming to be turned back into forests.

“Denmark [has] a lot of wind power, and especially at night, the demand for energy is not meeting the supply, therefore [it] is a perfect match between sustainable agriculture [for] food production and renewable energy,” Riemann said.

Nordic Harvest
Nordic Harvest

It’s not just the stacked, vertical shelves of fresh greens growing indoors that make Nordic Harvest’s farm look a world away from your classic farm, either. Everything inside the facility is bathed under glowing LED lights, designed by the company, while the plant seeds are planted and their progress inspected by automated robotic systems. Although this is far from the first time we’ve written about vertical farming solutions, this is certainly one of the biggest such projects to date. The facility was created in partnership with the Taiwanese company YesHealth Group.

“The produce will be available via supermarkets and food services — hotels, restaurants, and canteens — in February 2021,” said Riemann.

There are plans to expand these farms elsewhere in the world. Potential  locations will include other parts of Europe, plus Singapore, Dubai, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and the Philippines.

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Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
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