Ashburton, New Zealand, is about to be home to a food growing system which goes beyond the traditional open cropping landscape of the South Canterbury region. In an effort to guarantee food supply and enhance security, a cutting-edge vertical farm is set to be established by the end of August, with planting operations commencing early September.
Behind the project is Landlogic, which is setting up its Vertical Farm Systems XA Series or VFS. This state-of-the-art farming technology is designed to cultivate an extensive array of fast-growing crops. Focusing is on nutrient-rich leafy greens such as loose-leaf lettuce, baby spinach, arugula, mizuna, tatsoi, endive, pak choy, bok choy, beet chard, and an assortment of flavourful herbs including coriander, parsley, and basil.
One of the standout features of the VFS is its remarkable crop turn-around time, ensuring consistent production within a mere 28 days, unaffected by external factors.
This vertical farming solution in NZ bolsters food security. Highlighting the critical nature of this initiative, Alan Cottington, CEO of Landlogic, says the system does away with the vulnerability inherent in traditional farming methods and the precariousness of relying on inter-regional transport of leafy greens.
'When we depend on conventional farming or imported greens for our basic and essential nutritional needs, our food security is at stake', affirms Alan Cottington.
To showcase the potential of this cutting-edge technology, Landlogic cites the remarkable performance of a VFS machine currently operating across the Tasman in Australia.
'It consistently yields an impressive 600 kilograms of greens per week, requiring a minimal three hours of human labor weekly to maintain operations. Additionally, the system incorporates an automated packaging machine, streamlining the process of packaging greens directly from the VFS into eco-friendly bags or boxes for efficient distribution', says Alan Cottington.
Source: Landlogic - Vertical Farm Systems XA Series or VFS
The vertical farm's automated infrastructure is controlled by advanced computer systems regulating feeding, watering, lighting, and a network of sensors monitoring crucial environmental factors such as temperature, pH levels, electrical conductivity (EC), and humidity.
'The system's automation extends to critical tasks such as loading, harvesting, recovery, and the reuse of growing mediums, as well as reloading the trays', says Alan Cottington.
Landlogic is the exclusive importer and distributor of Vertical Farm Systems in New Zealand and the Pacific region, and serves as a sales agent worldwide, with the exception of Canada, Scandinavia, the Philippines, and the USA.
The system does not use pesticides or herbicides and requires significantly less water than in-ground systems, with a water efficiency rate of 99.9 percent.
'Nutritionally, the product is at least equal to, if not better when compared to 'in-ground plants' with nutritional levels consistently better', says Alan Cottington
Landlogic envisions vertical farming as a significant opportunity for Pacific Island countries, offering a means to combat escalating concerns surrounding food security and access to nutritious produce.
For more information on Landlogic's Vertical farming system CLICK HERE.