A “season-agnostic” vertical farm in Hamilton has received $3.5 million in public funding for research in the wake of increasing climatic events that have left crops across the North Island devastated.
Rain or shine, the weather has no effect on the 4000 bags of lettuce growing and packaged daily at Greengrower, an indoor vertical farming operation.
The grant from the Ministry of Primary Industries under the Sustainable Food and Fibres Futures program will focus on ongoing research and development for new crops and varietal development. The business and its shareholders have put nearly $5.3 million into the project.
Greengrower, New Zealand’s first large-scale vertical farm for lettuce and other leafy greens, started supplying commercially in December last year. The capacity will increase up to the equivalent of 150 hectares once the company becomes fully functional.
The leafy greens include spinach, mesclun, kale, herbs, and microgreens. Phase one of the two-phase program was now complete with trialing, crop development, and testing of the system.
Part one of the second phase focused on longer-term progress and included trying produce previously not known for growing well in New Zealand’s climate.
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