Indoor farming is 'challenging and promising'

The sixth edition of the Vertical Farming Conference took place at the Mikrocentrum in Veldhoven in Brabant. The partners of the Vertical Farming South Holland Field Lab provided interesting presentations for the public.

Fieldlab partner Signify zoomed in on the research into the potential of new crops that can be grown profitably in an indoor farm. At the GrowWise research center in Eindhoven, Signify tests the potential of dwarf tomatoes, strawberries, young plants, but also chrysanthemums and spinach. Researcher Stefan van de Voort states that it is challenging and promising to grow these crops profitably in indoor farms. When propagating young plants, he discovered that the plants from the indoor farms are stronger, making it easy for them to transfer to the next cultivation system, such as open ground or under glass. Getting off to a strong start gives the plants a better basis for further cultivation performance. We expect to see more and more opportunities for a hybrid cultivation system of greenhouse horticulture and indoor farming, expects Van de Voort. The trials also show promising results for the other crops. The plants grown in indoor farms score particularly high in the uniformity and quality of flowering, coloring and nutritional values.

Consumer perception

Researcher at Wageningen Economic Research Gemma Tacken discussed it in her presentation consumer research carried out from the Fieldlab. In that research looked at consumer perception and the purchase motivation. Consumers generally know little about the way their lettuce, tomatoes and strawberries are grown. By they know less about indoor farming, not very surprisingly. The respondents are slightly positive about indoor farming Tacking. Especially the aspect that there is pesticide-free cultivation in a vertical farm appeals. Also that less land and water is needed there are motivations for consumers for this method of cultivation buy products from an indoor farm. Tacken sees little added value in a special label for indoor farming. According to her, it is more relevant to consider the benefits for the consumer showcase and the honest story of indoor farming narrate.  


As a follow-up to Tacken's consumer research, the Indoor Farming Netherlands community, which collaborates with the Fieldlab Vertical Farming, has developed a website about indoor farming: Together with the indoor farmers Future Crops, OwnGreens, Vaversa, GlowFarms, VanGelder, Infarm and Growy and students from Inhollans, we worked on the narrative of indoor farming for consumers. The site should help explain the story to consumers and help them make conscious choices. 

Comparative tests

After the presentation on consumer perception, Isabelle Righini and Caterina Carpineti from Wageningen University & Research took the stage. They discussed the research being done in the test facilities at the Horti Science Park in Bleiswijk. The Fieldlab also conducts research into the performance of various indoor farming systems. The closed and therefore fully controllable environment of an indoor farm gives researchers the opportunity to learn to understand plants even better. The new insights are not only interesting for cultivation without daylight. It also provides new insights for cultivation under glass. 


The shared output of the Fieldlab partners could count on a lot of interaction from the public. Precisely because people in the still young sector are reluctant to share results, the contribution of the partners was appreciated. 


The following partners work together within the Fieldlab Vertical Farming South Holland: Greenport Horti Campus Foundation, Wageningen Plant Research research institute, Wageningen Research Foundation, Inholland University of Applied Sciences, Improvement Centre, Delphy BV, Vitro Plus BV, Logiqs BV, Future Crops, Signify Netherlands and Vertify . 


The Field Lab Vertical Farming South Holland is made possible by a contribution from the partners and by a contribution from the European Fund for Regional Development of the European Union and the Province of South Holland. 

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