Singapore’s first commercialized vertical farm company Sky Urban Solutions has launched a new micro-farming system that combines aquaculture, vertical vegetable farming, and customizable spaces for storage.
The company uses minimal land, water and energy resources to provides the community with fresh, locally grown vegetables. It has a smaller carbon footprint than traditional farming and import systems. At its Lim Chu Kang vertical farm, Sky Urban Solutions produces one ton of vegetables a day and intends to franchise this micro-farm model.
Growing sufficient food on limited or non-arable land has long posed a challenge to urbanized Singapore. With Sky Urban Solutions, the size of the hydraulic-powered micro-farm can be customized depending on the specific needs.
Housed in protected outdoor greenhouses, each tower – almost nine meters tall – contains 38 shelves, each growing a range of tropical vegetables. The shelves slowly rotate throughout the day, allowing each shelf to receive sunlight from the top and water from the bottom. Using gravity to its advantage, the rotating 1.7-ton structure is powered using a hydraulic system, which requires only 0.5 liters of water per day. The water is also reused on the vegetables once the cycle has been completed.
A basketball court-sized micro-farm system, which includes a greenhouse and tanks for fish and prawns, will cost about USD 300,000 and can produce up to 100 kilograms of leafy vegetables a day.
According to Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry, Chan Chun Sing, agri-food companies in Singapore can become providers of novel farming solutions not only for domestic food security but also for overseas needs. Sky Urban Solutions, for example, is already exporting its vertical farming system to Thailand and Canada, with other collaborative partnerships going on in India, China, and Malaysia.
(Sources: The Straits Times; The Index Project)