Gray facades, gray laptops, gray faces: but in the middle of a Munich office complex, there is a splash of green that shines amid the everyday gray: On an area of just over 250 square meters - about the size of a tennis court - lettuces, herbs and mustard seeds are growing here directly in an open-plan office, while work is going on around it. Up to 5,330 kilograms of delicious and healthy "greens" can be harvested each year. How is there room for this? Quite simply: in layers.
The special plantation is a so-called grow tower based on the vertical farming principle. This means that plants are grown on top of each other on a certain base area in a kind of shelf system on different levels (in a tower, so to speak). Where otherwise only one head of lettuce grows, there is room for four. The yield is also quadrupled. Particularly for large cities like Munich, where space is scarce, this is an exciting and forward-looking option.
Innovation made in Bavaria
So how does the green tower end up in the middle of a Sendlinger office? It is the European branch of the internationally active vertical farming market leader Kalera. The office tower serves as a testing ground for new projects and products. From here, mega-farms - as the very, very, much larger siblings of the Grow Tower are called - have already been developed in Singapore and Kuwait.
The Grow Tower is a completely self-contained system in which parameters that are otherwise uncontrollable in nature, such as temperature, light and water, can be controlled in such a way that crops can be grown all year round. Enclosing the Grow Tower is a climate cell that creates a constant microenvironment and also protects against pests, ensures maximum energy efficiency and eliminates the need for pesticides. The central component of the technology is the climate control system, which imitates the desired near-natural conditions.
Optimized plant growth behavior
This means that there is an ideal mix of ambient temperatures, humidity and wind speed at all times of the day and night, resulting in optimized plant growth behavior. In addition, the sustainable use of water saves up to 95% water compared to conventional cultivation.
Anyone who would like to see the whole thing in person has the opportunity to do so at EDEKA store Stadler + Honner in Unterföhring. Germany's first supermarket where food is grown directly and harvested fresh. Up to 5,800 pots of oak-leaf lettuce, mustard herbs, basil and much more grow on the four floors of the store, which has a floor area of just over 80 square meters. Up to 400 plants can thus be harvested every day.
Local products for Munich pubs
In addition, Kalera Europe also works with many local restaurateurs who, thanks to a midi version of the innovative system, can harvest fresh, nutritious and flavorful lettuces as well as herbs and serve them to their guests within minutes.
For more information:
Kalera GmbH (ehemals &ever GmbH)
Tölzer Str. 2D