World's first commercial vertical farm opens in Singapore

The prospect of growing crops in vertical farms directly inside of cities has been on the collective wish-list of environmentalists, sustainable developers, and futurists for quite some time now. And now it looks like it's finally starting to happen. Land-strapped Singapore has opened its first vertical farm — an innovation that will increase the variety of foods it has available and decrease its dependance on foreign imports.

And indeed, a major problem facing Singapore (and many other cities) today is land scarcity. Located at the tip of the Malay Peninsula, it is an island country that consists of a mere 710 square kilometers (271 square miles) — and most of it is developed and urbanized. Today, only 7% of Singapore's vegetables are grown locally. But by virtue of the new facility, it's looking to change the situation.

Developed by Sky Greens Farms, the vertical farm consists of 120 aluminum towers that extend over 9 meters (30 feet) in height. In total, the vertical farm is able to produce vegetables at a rate of 0.5 tonnes per day. The company is hoping to attract investors so that it can devote another USD$21M dollars for upgrades. Ideally, they'd like to construct as many as 300 towers — enough to produce two tonnes of vegetables per day.

Currently, the farm is able to grow three kinds of vegetables, and they can only be found at the local FairPrice Finest supermarkets, but at a price that's 10 to 20 cents more than vegetables from other sources. But according to Channel News Asia, customers are enthusiastic about the new products and the supermarkets are struggling to keep the vegetables in stock. Moreover, Sky Greens expects the price to drop as the farm ramps up supply.

Source and image: Channel News Asia.