The Internet of Things has the potential to revolutionize how we produce food in the future. Specifically, IoT makes it possible to optimize indoor food production by instrumenting production equipment with low-cost sensors and by moving monitoring, analytics and alert systems into the cloud.
While investigating how vegetables are produced in Norway, we realized that indoor food production in traditional greenhouses can be greatly improved by moving from flat (2D) growing surfaces to a stacked (3D) setup, where plants are grown several stories high under LED lights. This kind of setup is known as vertical farming, and it’s already quite common in Japan and in the US.
But here in Scandinavia, only a few people seemed to have heard about vertical farming. Indeed, for a Norwegian farmer, the words “vertical farming” would bring up mental images of a farmer working the plough on the face of an extremely steep mountain.
So Biogrid decided to arrange a seminar named Vertical Farming Day in Oslo. The purpose of the event was to inform decision makers, investors, entrepreneurs and visionaries about this new technology, and how it can be used for year-round indoor food production, completely independent of climate change and seasonal variations.
In particular we wanted to showcase commercial success stories, academic research, and details on the state of the art, technology-wise. So we invited a set of prominent experts in the field, who gave excellent talks on everything from the state of the art in LED-based growing, to controlled environment agriculture and precision farming, and how to profitably set up and run a vertical farm.
- Dr. Cary A. Mitchell, research professor at Purdue University.
- Dr. Frank Larsen, CEO of the Innovation Centre Hedmark.
- Dr. Audun Korsæth, research professor at the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research.
- Robert Colangelo, CEO of Green Sense Farms
- Per Åge Lyså CEO of Intravision Group
- August Flatby, CEO of Biogrid.
The event was held on October 12, 2015 with over 200 registered attendees. Let's hope that at least one of the attendees will start a vertical farm in Norway one day!