"When we think of the agriculture of the future, we have to be open to new concepts. In the Bavarian State Institute for Viticulture and Horticulture (LWG), we have proven experts who are tackling this complex of issues. We will work out ways in which our Bavarian growers can benefit from these cultivation methods. We are setting up a special indoor farm for this purpose," Michaela Kaniber, Bavaria's Minister of Agriculture, announced earlier this week. The location of this "indoor farm" is to be at the LWG, the State Institute for Viticulture and Horticulture in the German city of Munich. The planning phase is now underway for more detailed implementation.
"Food production is coming to the cities. Not only is urban gardening becoming increasingly popular, but the topic of urban farming is also growing in importance. With urban farming, food production no longer takes place in the field, but on house facades, on roofs, or in disused warehouses. With the help of several beds arranged one above the other, so-called "LED multilayer cultivation rooms," a lot can be grown in a small space, independent of sunlight. This allows efficient crop production even in densely populated urban areas," she explained the choice.
Already in 2019, the LWG has commissioned an LED multi-layer cultivation room. By optimizing the use of light and heat, it is possible to use resources in a, particularly efficient way. In addition, the closed system helps to reduce plant protection measures through a higher level of hygiene. "It becomes possible to cultivate plants under quasi-sterile and environmentally independent conditions. At the same time, the grower needs less land. Now we need to develop production methods that effectively combine these multi-layer cultivation areas with greenhouses," she continued.
In the meantime, there are already processes that completely dispense with soil as a basic substrate. With this soil-independent crop cultivation, such as deep-water or substrate cultivation, vegetables can be produced under conditions that are always consistent. Established is the cultivation of tomatoes, cucumbers, or peppers on substrates such as perlite or coconut fiber. "I am aware that these methods are currently new and unfamiliar to many of our farms, but there are already the first successful concepts in practice. Producing high-quality regional vegetables regardless of the season and at the same time using less water, discharging less nitrate, or applying fewer pesticides are fascinating prospects that we should keep an eye on," she said.