Finland: Vertical farming at Pirkkala airport

Pirkkala airport is growing fresh produce in a multy-storey growing department. In Pirkkala, for example, strawberries and herbs can be grown indoors all year round much more efficiently than before.

Hanna Tuomisto, Associate Professor of Food Technologies at the University of Helsinki, says that in 2050, the role of shifting cultivation is likely to be much greater. Tuomisto leads projects aimed at creating more sustainable food systems.

"Food systems are linked to all sustainability challenges. More than 80% of biodiversity loss is caused by food systems and agricultural production," Tuomisto explains. The efficiency of the layer farming in Pirkkala is truly impressive. Niko Kivioja, CEO of Netled, opens up the figures on water and energy use. "We have eliminated all natural forces from this farming. We have artificial lighting, irrigation and fertilization. In addition, the air conditioning is fully mechanized," Kivioja explains.

Tuomisto mentions the phosphorus and nitrogen discharged from fields into water bodies and stresses how vertical farming could help alleviate this problem. "The world produces 12 000 square kilometers of lettuce in the field today. If it were all produced with this technology, we would only need 115 square kilometers of land and it wouldn't even have to be arable land," Kivioja assures.


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