The increase in the demand for locally produced food in the last few years can in the future lead to the establishment of more vertical farms in Ireland. So says John Paul Prior, co-founder, and strategy and sales director at Farmony. The company designs and builds controlled environment, vertical farming solutions that produce crops all year round. Farmony has set up vertical farms for customers in Tipperary, Galway, and Armagh, replacing imports with locally, fresh-grown produce. There are also plans for a large urban farm in the Dublin city center, which Prior says will likely be up and running in February next year.
Moreover, these farms supply the foodservice and retail sector, and in some cases, also sell directly to customers. For example, Emerald Greens from Ballyporeen, Co. Tipperary supplies to food services group, Compass Ireland, and food business, The Happy Pear. Prior adds that they supply a modular system that enables interested parties to start with a small footprint and then scale up as circumstances allow. A single module has a footprint of 1m x 1.3m and is about 2m tall if you have four layers.
According to Prior, once the temperature and humidity are controlled in a clean environment, you just need an electrical connection, as well as water-in, and water-out. After that, there is the price of seeds, substrates, nutrients, and electricity to power the pump and the humidity/temperature control.
The beauty of vertical farming is that it is accessible to basically “everyone”. This can include restaurants, hotels, hospitals, schools, universities, community organisations, and individuals. But it is not just for new entrants into the market. Prior says it is also “ideal” as a supplementary and complementary option for producers within horticulture and as a diversification opportunity for traditional farmers in beef and dairy.
Read the complete article at www.thatsfarming.com.