Vertical farming has been around for a while in multiple forms for a variety of different products. With efficient use of space and water, this modality is aimed at growing as many plants as possible in a sustainable way, the main priority for the global agriculture industry today.
Some vertical structures, like the one presented by L’Agricantina, an Italian company dedicated to cultivation in aquaponic and hydroponic environments, at Macfrut 2023, can hold up to 300 plants per 10.763 ft².
“The characteristic of this vertical form that we patented is that every plant has its own water reserve, which is useful if there is a power outage and you can’t activate the water pump. It also requires just one pump for 10,000 plants which works 20 hours per day, making it very efficient in water use,” explained Carvaglia Massimo from L’Aagricantina during an interview with FreshFruitPortal at last week’s event.
The water tank is located beneath the structure which holds the plants and then it is pumped to the top of each tube from where it falls down into each individual slot. Any water that is not used in the reserves falls back into the tank, allowing even more efficient use of the water.
The small water and fertilization reserve under each plant slot slows down the frequency with which each plant must be watered.
Every domestic structure can be personalized, from the size to the material that it is made out of. Each one can be painted and personalized.
Even though at Macfrut, all the plants displayed were greens like lettuce and spinach, Massimo said that it can also be used for strawberries and flowers. Clients must consider the weight of the product that they want to use because, for example, tomatoes are too heavy for vertical farming and it would not work properly.
New markets and brand expansion
“We started with this project about a year ago, and we are already shipping to Asia, but we have many requests in Africa and Europe, so we are starting to ship everywhere. Our customers recognize that the system is very efficient so they are very interested in trying it,” said Massimo.
This was the first exhibition where L’Agricantina showed their product and they were able to make many contacts with potential customers.
Lots of people also approached the stand to share new ideas on how they can improve the structure which Massimo says has been very helpful for them.
“Our system uses about 95% less water compared to traditional agriculture, and since you can turn off the system for long periods of the day, you can also save a lot on energy. At the end of the day, it is all about sustainable growing,” said Massimo.