At COP 27 in Egypt, Infarm – the world’s fastest-growing vertical farming company, announced that it has successfully grown wheat in an indoor farm without soil or chemical pesticides and using much less water when compared with open field farming. This would make Infarm the first vertical farming company to tackle staple crop production in a controlled environment.
The company reports that its initial trials demonstrated exceptional results, allowing a projection of 11.7 Kg per m2 yield per year. When further projected at scale, Infarm calculates an equivalent of 117 tonnes per hectare per year – 26 times that of open-field farming yields.
As climate impacts worsen, being able to successfully grow wheat indoors presents the opportunity to maintain a vitally important food staple, free of external climatic conditions – an important milestone. Wheat provides much of the global population with its daily energy requirements and is a significant source of protein, accounting for almost 40% of daily protein intake in some regions.
Wheat is grown over a larger area than any other crop and due to a destabilised environment, the yield per hectare is expected to decline. To continue to feed the world’s growing population it will be necessary to increase wheat yields – perhaps with the aid of indoor, controlled environment agriculture.
”To continue to feed the world’s growing population, we need to achieve higher crop yields which we have now proven to be possible for wheat through indoor, controlled environment agriculture. Our results are significant when compared to the average yield of outdoor wheat production, which is about 4.5 tonnes per hectare per year and heavily dependent on weather and seasons.” says Guy Galonska, CTO and co-founder of Infarm “We are confident that wheat can be grown successfully at scale indoors as a climate-resilient alternative. Our record yield could potentially be increased by a further 50% in the coming years using a combination of improved genetics, hardware, and optimised growth environments.”
Erez Galonska, CEO and co-founder of Infarm added “Being able to grow wheat indoors is a milestone for Infarm and of significant importance for global food security, as wheat is a calorie-dense but resource-intense crop that is a core component of diets worldwide. Westarted Infarm to find new ways of producing food to feed the world’s growing population and the results show that we are a big step closer to achieving this goal.”
In partnership with more than 30 of the world’s top retail chains in 10 countries in North America, Asia, and Europe, Infarm’s fresh produce is available in more than 1,850 stores worldwide. By 2030 Infarm plans to expand to 20 countries on those three continents and to the Middle East. The company’s product catalogue consists of a variety of more than 75 plants such as herbs, leafy greens, salads, microgreens, and mushrooms, and will soon include strawberries, peppers, cherry tomatoes, and peas.
95% less land and water
Infarm’s modular farming systems are highly efficient, capable of growing more than 500,000 plants annually on just 40m2 of floor space. In addition to using 95% less land, Infarm requires 95% less water than traditional farming methods and uses no chemical pesticides. So far, Infarm has saved more than 130 million litres of water, more than 180,000m2 of land, and nearly 1.6 million food miles (about 3 million km) with its production methods. Infarm has set a science-based net-zero carbon target based on The Science Based Targets initiative.