Check out the video to see what else Kari has to say about growing strawberry seedlings at the world’s most northern vertical farm.
Growing strawberry seedlings in the world’s most northern vertical farm with Netled’s Vera technology
Netled delivered and commissioned LED lighting and climate control technology to the Seppälä vertical farm in Kainuu Vocational School, the most northern vertical farm in the world, situated in Kajaani, Finland. The whole project was delivered by Finnish operators, and mainly using domestic technology. Seppälä vertical farm was built by Kainuu Vocational School, and Robbes Lilla Trädgård Ab acted as the general contractor in the project.
In addition to being the world’s most northern vertical farm, Seppälä vertical is also the largest vertical project for teaching and research purposes in the world. “The fantastic facilities at Seppälä vertical enable the education of versatile growers and important research in the field. This will also be an immense help for the companies developing vertical farming technology”, comments Niko Kivioja, CEO at Netled.
The Seppälä vertical farm serves as a great example of the benefits of vertical farming: even at over 64 degrees north, the location doesn’t influence the vertical farming process.
During the first year of operations, different types of salad and herbs have been grown, as well as two different batches of strawberry seedlings. Different recipes for growing have also been created during the first year.
The overall incentive of the project is to better understand the plants and the entire growing process. In the future, Seppälä vertical farm aims to have a completely carbon-neutral production method and run on solar power.
Kari Komulainen, Head Grower at Peuraniemi Nursery, has been extremely satisfied with the results of the vertical farm so far. “The two batches of strawberry seedlings we have grown so far have proven without doubt the efficiency and profitability of producing seedlings vertically” Kari explains.
Netled and SweGreen collaborate in Sweden – Netled’s vertical farming system delivered to in-store farm in ICA Focus supermarket
Netled has delivered its Vera Instore Growing Cabinet to SweGreen for a project with ICA Focus supermarket in Gothenburg, Sweden. ICA Group is the leading grocery retailer in Sweden.
SweGreen has provided an automated instore farming solution to ICA Focus built on the Vera technology. The herbs and leafy greens are grown in the store and harvested directly off the shelf. This kind of instore farm is the first of its kind in Sweden, and is globally unique in size as well as its production capacity.
The Instore Growing Cabinet covers a growing area of 70 m2 and every day about 300 seedlings, such as basil, dill and arugula are harvested, which are then sold in the store. The Vera Cultivation technology allows up to 98% of the water and nutrients used in cultivation to be recycled!
SweGreen is an urban farming company based in Stockholm, Sweden, providing cutting-edge, circular economy solutions for controlled-environment urban farming. By integrating smart vertical farming solutions into real-estate properties, SweGreen provides circular waste-water and carbon-absorbing systems that enable production of locally grown quality greens and help minimize the environmental footprint of the facilities.
ICA Group is the leading grocery retailer in Sweden with around 1,300 stores and a market share of around 36%. The business is operated in cooperation with independent ICA retailers who each own and operate their own store, making it possible to tailor concepts and offers to local demand. The instore growing cabinet is an example of this kind of tailored offering.
Niko Kivioja, CEO of Netled comments: “We have followed the markets for hyperlocal vertical farming for quite some time now and seen that our technology has clearly many opportunities for the current markets. This first project with SweGreen is a great reference for us as it places our Vera Instore technology in one of the biggest supermarkets in Sweden. Swegreen’s ‘Farming as a Service’ business model is an elegant and easy way to make fresh products available to consumers on a prepaid subscription basis.”
SweGreen is launching the Instore concept in other supermarkets throughout Sweden.
Groundbreaking vertical farming project with Vertigo Farms in Poland
Netled has completed its first entirely remote deal and delivery of Vera vertical farming technology to its Poland-based partner, Vertigo Farms.
The deal with Vertigo is of particular significance for two key reasons:
1. The project has taken place entirely remotely from signing the deal, assessing the space and planning, to shipping, delivery and commissioning.
2. Vertigo Farms will use the Vera vertical farming technology to produce crops that will be used to make extracts for the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries rather than for direct consumption by consumers. Vertigo Farms is the first publicly known European actor to produce natural extracts from plants grown indoors.
“The Vera vertical farming technology is very flexible in its applications, which suited our needs particularly well”, says Dawid Drzewiecki, CEO of Vertigo Farms. “Also, the initial investment costs for the Vera Compact system are very competitive”.
“This project was completed entirely remotely and the team engagement from Netled was very high. There are always small issues to handle and resolve in projects of this size, but they were handled very well by the Netled team”, Dawid adds.
Delivery of the Vera Compact vertical farming technology was completed in January 2021, and the first crop will be ready by mid March. Travel restrictions due to the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic meant that all negotiations, planning, and even commissioning on-site in Poland had to be done remotely
“At first we were a little concerned about how we would be able to complete the entire project without physically visiting the space where the vertical farm would be built”, explains Johanna Kivioja, Chief Procurement Officer at Netled.
“Normally, we would visit the site during the planning stage, and especially during commissioning we fly one of our technicians over to make sure that the mechanical, electrical and automated controls are tested and work correctly. This simply wasn’t an option due to the travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic, so we had to get creative”, she continues.
“For the first time ever, commissioning took place completely remotely. A local Polish technician carried out the manual adjustments under our guidance, and we tested the software remotely from Pirkkala. It was really satisfying to see that we were able to complete the entire project, all the way up to commissioning, fully remotely. This is a clear sign that we are able to continue to plan and deliver projects, and therefore continue our international growth, regardless of the COVID 19 situation”, Johanna adds.
Vertigo Farms intend to continue to push the boundaries of what is currently possible with vertical farming technology.
“The Vera Compact technology and the built-in cutting edge LED lighting technology and nutrition delivery system is so flexible that we are starting to experiment with tropical plants”, Dawid Drzewiecki adds.
“We are the only vertical farm in Poland considering the pharma and cosmetics space. With Vera vertical farming technology, we are well set to serve that very large market”, he concludes.
Netled’s collaboration with Finnish restaurateur
Sami Lappalainen, a Finnish restaurateur, is using herbs and lettuces grown in Vera® demo facility in Pirkkala. Sami leads a Gastropub family in Tampere, which includes 12 small, unique restaurants and a microbrewery.
Sami speaks for the sustainable and local production of food, and Netled’s vertical farming solutions fit in his philosophy well: “We need to favour urban agriculture in one way or another, because field-based farming is now a global problem. Around 40 % of the used surface area on our planet is fields, mainly monoculture, which are no longer part of the natural world. I think that farming should be moved to places, which people are already using for other purposes.”
Lappalainen sees the collaboration with Netled in a very positive light: “The products grown in Netled's units are longer-lasting, of higher quality and more substantial than similar, conventional alternatives. For us, the key issue is quality and long shelf-life of the product, because waste levels tend to be very high in these kinds of herbs and lettuces. We have been highly satisfied with Netled's service. It’s clearly of benefit to us, and we have a ringside view of the new product’s development.”
Watch chefs’ thoughts on Vera®-farmed produce and vertical farming:
Watch BBC news coverage of Astwood’s current operations in Redditch, UK:
Partnership with Astwood Infrastructure
Netled is collaborating with British technology company Astwood Infrastructure to build four industrial scale vertical farms predominantly in UK over the next three years. The farms will also provide a framework for serving global customers.
Greenfield projects require relatively massive design work for infrastructure. Together the companies have a possibility to serve global market with an all-inclusive project offering.
A pilot facility, the first under the framework, is already built and is in continuous use in Redditch, UK. In the future, focus will be in industrial scale vertical farming. The production volumes are planned to be millions of heads of lettuces and herbs annually.
“We are incredibly excited about our new agreement with Netled Oy and the opportunity we now have in building and scaling a UK wide and potentially global vertical farm operation. Our pilot farm has shown some incredibly exciting results and we feel optimistic that we will be able to replicate this success at scale” comments Mike Capewell, the CEO of Astwood Infrastructure.
2020 Vertical farm to Vertigo, Poland
2020 Instore growing cabinet project supermarket, Finland
2020 Instore vertical farm to ICA Fokus, Sweden with Swegreen
2020 LED greenhouse lighting project leafy greens, Sweden
2020 LED greenhouse lighting project Åland, Finland
2020 Vertical farming technology Germany
2020 Hybrid lighting project lettuce production, Finland
2019 Vertical farming technology delivery to Kajaani, Finland
2019 Hybrid lighting project Oksasen puutarha, Finland
2019 Vertical Farming technology to UAE
2019 Hybrid lighting project cucumber Finland
2018 Vertical Farm to UK
2018 Virolan puutarha Lettuce production line LED lighting
2018 Illinois US Tomato Lighting project
2018 Hällnäs Trädgård SE Herb Lighting project
2018 Finland Lettuce Colorization project
2018 LUKE - Institute of Natural Resources
2018 Taimitapio Seedling Tree interference lighting project
2018 Finland Indoor lighting for propagation
2017 Alanteen Puutarha Strawberry Lighting project
2017 Finland Organic herb Lighting project
2017 Bulgaria Full LED lighting project
2017 Wääksy Garden Seedlings Hybrid lighting
2017 Kotipelto Garden Microgreens LED lighting
2017 Turakkala Garden Herbs Lighting project
2016 Härkälän Puutarha Lettuce Colorization project
2016 Finland Lettuce Production lighting and electrical infrastructure
2016 Kulmala Garden Organic basil Hybrid lighting
2016 Härkälä nursery Red salad varieties Overhead™ Hybrid luminaires for colorization
2015 Robbes Lilla Trädgård Herb LED lighting project
2014 Keuda Salads and pot plants Full LED lighting project
2014 Viherkaste Seedlings Hybrid lighting
2014 Farmifarm Oy Herb and lettuce Seedling lighting
2014 Tamsin Vihannes Oy Lettuce LED lighting project
2014 Merivuoren Puutarha Oy Cucumber Interlighting project
2014 Deweja NL Lettuce Lighting project
2014 Leythorne Nurseries UK Lettuce Lighting project
2014 KEUDA Tomato and flower Greenhouse lighting and electrical infrastructure
2014 Lindroth Nursery Herb Seedling lighting project
2014 Seinäjoen Puutarha Cucumber Lighting project
2013 Novia Yrkeshögskolan Tomato Interlighting research
2013 Japan Tomato Top lighting research
2013 Vitacress UK Coriander Lighting project
2012 Esa Tamsi Oy Hybrid lighting project