VERTICAL FARMING SHOULD BE ABOUT MUCH MORE THAN JUST YIELD
At Hexagro Urban Farming, we often get asked about productivity rates and yield for crops in our systems, like so many others who work in the vertical farming industry do. And the truth is that these are very important questions if you are about to build a new vertical farm and don’t want to get screwed by your margins and operational costs.
At the same time, food– especially good food–is not just about yield. The beautiful experience of entering an organic farm is not about seeing the same lines of colors and produce as one would find on a conventional farm, but rather about seeing different patterns of slightly different colors weaving amongst each other. Such biodiversity is like an explosion of life that makes us feel happy, and makes the plants appear almost too beautiful to be eaten!
This is what makes good food and natural landscapes so intriguing to us as humans, and this is what biophilic designers are studying all day long: How humans and nature are intrinsically connected–how without nature there would be no us.
Biophilic design, centered around the human-nature connection, decreases stress levels, blood pressure and much more.
Unfortunately, the opposite is happening as a direct cause of the today’s food industry. Indeed, growing operations are centralized and produce is shipped all around the world. We are not only increasing the distance from us and nature, but we are also decreasing the nutrient content and the “healthiness” of the products we eat as a direct result seeking prolonged shelf life. Even within a few hours, many vegetables exponentially lose their nutrition after harvest.
At Hexagro, we tend to see the food production system of tomorrow with a very different lens than just productivity rates and the maximization of yield. Hexagro is about looking at the opportunities for vertical farming to maximize human wellness.
As we learned from our biomimicry background, nature does not maximize the environment for a few living beings, but rather optimizes it for as many as possible to thrive. Nature uses shapes to determine functionality and never creates gigantic structures without first starting from the minimum required building blocks.
Our Living Farming Tree, just like these natural systems, can grow bigger as its users increase productivity and when they have an actual need for the produce they will grow. It adapts to the local interior design of the space and is always upgradable with the latest tech gadget as everything in our modules is plug & play.
Just like a honeycomb that increases its number of hexagonal cells based on the growing bee population, no space or resources are wasted.
In the Living Farming Tree there is not a fixed “maximum yield”, just your willingness to grow what you prefer in the space you have available.
Considering that we spend 90% of our time indoors, we are much more concerned about how to make you feel better at home, the office or at school, rather than being picky on how many more grams per day of salad you can grow. In the end, even if you grow more, after harvest the produce needs to be consumed right away!
Some companies are already ahead of this new trend and are installing green walls and fancy open greenhouses in their spaces, but how can we make it even more accessible? How can we convince people that having plants is not just about decoration?
We believe one of the answers can be to start growing living interiors where you do not just water plants, but you grow them and harvest them for your own consumption. Most importantly, these plants can be harvested only if they need to be consumed. Worst case scenario, they’ll keep greening your space and be ready for when you are the next day.
Imagine hotels with edible gardens in their lobbies, and offices that require a mandatory fresh medicinal herbal tea break to their employees. Imagine an entire new generation of buildings with communal indoor spaces where residents can interact, harvest healthy food and spend some time just enjoying the beauty of a (Hexagro) forest right downstairs their place.
All these ideas are not sci-fi illustrations, but are becoming reality in many different locations around the world. Our initial partners in Europe are interested in discovering what their future green locations will look like. f you are interested in discussing your office, hotel or neighborhood of tomorrow, then feel free to reach out to us today!
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