It’s like shopping on a farm, only in a grocery store.
Vertical farming displays have been placed in grocery stores in Berlin, Germany, that allow for customers to purchase the freshest possible produce directly from the farm. This is possible because the farm is in the grocery store. Currently found inside METRO Cash & Carry stores, these micro-farms give customers the opportunity to shop healthy. All the while reducing transportation costs, and ultimately helping the store with the bottom line. The farms are also efficient and good for the environment since they use less water, energy, and less space than traditional farms.
INFARM, the limited company that is innovating this product, is working to integrate the vertical farms into the shopping experience with large displays put into the stores. This innovation also boasts as being the pioneer with trying to reshape the in-store experience. Using these displays, the shopper can walk into the installation and select the produce they want. Overall giving them a better value for the food that appears on their plate.
“We want to change the way people grow, eat and think food. We believe our food system should be decentralise and production should get closer to the consumer,” said Erez Galonska, founder and CEO of INFARM.
The project is currently in its pilot year. For this reason, only herbs and salad greens can be purchased as of right now. But this technology has the capability to expand into growing other fruits and vegetables.
The next steps for the company includes placing these hubs in hotels and restaurants as they continue to collaborate.
The vertical farms are not only beneficial to stores by reducing costs, but they also greatly reduce the carbon footprint of transporting food. These farms reduce waste, where 90 percent of the crop can be harvested, as opposed to the 50 percent that is harvested on a traditional farm.
These farms allow for an “…increase production while consuming less resources and creating less environmental impact,” Galonska said.
According to Professor Dickson Despommier of Columbia University, harvesting food indoors allows for hundreds of thousands of square miles of farm land to return to forested areas. Returning some land to forests will help absorb the increased carbon dioxide in the air and bring down pollution levels.
This is especially beneficial because scientists believe that by the year 2050, about 109 million hectares of farmland will be needed to grow enough food to sustain the population growth. This is about 20 percent larger than the size of Brazil. By having these farms, you save space and time.