This is the latest initiative from a partnership between Swedish company Plantagon and engineering firm SWECO – a spiral ramp within a glass globe, to allow greenhouse cultivation in large urban areas.
Boxes of plants and seeds are arranged on the bottom spiralling helix inside this glass globe, which then rotates upwards to facilitate photosynthesis. Once they reach the peak, the plants will have matured completely and are then transferred to a harvesting platform. The process then repeats itself.
The seeds are checked every 30 days and Plantagon estimates 10,000 square metres of greenhouse will be able to grow 100,000 square metres of fruit and vegetables.
By placing these greenhouses within large urban areas, Plantagon plans to eliminate transport costs as well as environmental damage.
Plantagon says it’s already received interest from various cities in four different continents. The first of these greenhouses is expected to reach major cities in 2012.
The company says this development will “dramatically change the way we produce ecological and functional food. It allows us to produce ecologically with clean air and water inside urban environments, even major cities, cutting costs and environmental damage by eliminating transportation and deliver directly to consumers.”
Furthermore, each greenhouse will be financed by its own sales.
Plantagon was founded in 2008 in collaboration with the Onondaga Native American tribe.
Earlier this year, Plantagon’s Greenhouse was added to a list of 100 Sustainable Innovators by the Globe Forum.
In June, the company won the ‘Innovation Idol’ contest, beating competition from 36 countries.
The structure of the company is part non-profit, part for-profit under a specific model developed by CEO Hans Hassle.
The Food and Agricultural Organisation forecasts global population to reach 9 billion by 2050.
Alongside that, fruits and vegetables incur storage, handling and transport costs which account for 70% of their final selling price.
Hassle says that 80% of all land suitable for crop production is being used for other purposes, hence the idea to urbanise fruit and vegetable production.
Commenting on the broader impact the Greenhouse could have on global crop cultivation, Hassle says that the arable land available will not be enough to cater for the Earth’s growing population.
“We need to find alternative ways to farm locally and space-efficiently. We have therefore developed a greenhouse that enables us to farm ecologically in the middle of an urban environment.”