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First vertical farm in the Netherlands opens doors to the public

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Amsterdam-based start-up aiming to feed 50% of Amsterdam with herbs and salads in 2025
On 1 November 2017, Amsterdam’s deputy mayor Abdeluheb Choho will officially open the first vertical farm in the Netherlands. The farm is shipping over 250m2 of fresh green to the leaders of the Amsterdam´s top 50 restaurants. This start-up, the initiative of John Apesos and biochemical engineer Jens Ruijg, aims to feed half of Amsterdam with herbs and salads in 2025. Paul Berry – vice president of engineering of Square Roots will be present at the opening of this commercial vertical farm. Kimbal Musk (Elon Musk younger brother and board member of Tesla, SpaceX, Chipotle) is the cofounder and executive chairman of Square Roots and helps the next generation to become growers / vertical farming. GROWx will make Amsterdam the definitive global leader in local for local high quality food. The vertical farms works with no soil and no sunlight, GROWx literally engineers climates to grow clean food. The commercial pilot is 250 m2, with plans to expand to 2,000m2 in 2018. The GROWx facility is equipped with irrigation, a climate computer, excess electricity supply to build the largest vertical farm in Europe in the coming months. This farm supplies a handful of top chefs and restaurants like Hotel Pulitzer, The Hoxton, Conservatorium and Hotel Arena in their flag ship restaurants.
Vertical farms versus conventional agriculture
The Netherlands is the world’s second biggest agricultural exporter. Most of this exported food does not grow here, but is imported, processed and then exported. For every Dutch resident, an area equivalent to the size of a UEFA football pitch is required for the production of all the food, wood, cotton and other resources. This means that 1.8 million hectares of land is used to supply the Dutch population with all the vegetables they need. This land is mainly in Europe and South America, but also comes from North America, Asia, Africa and Russia. Our current food system is uses a lot of fossil fuels in production, transport and storage. This whole GROWx operation runs entirely on green energy, including transport of the herbs and salads, making the bold step to producing clean food.
Supporting UN goals
The UN has formulated 17 goals to help make the world more sustainable. Number 12 is about ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns, while number 6 concerns the use of water. Vertical farming links into this because food can be produced locally and uses much less water. It ensures that space in a city is used optimally because food is grown in vertically stacked layers and can be produced three times faster than normal. GROWx developed technology which gives total indoor control by using LEDs to produce high quality vegetables like rocket, (sprouting) vegetables and lettuce without using pesticides.
From 250 m2 2017 to 10,000 m3 2025 of vertical farming
On 1 November 2017, Amsterdam’s deputy mayor Abdeluheb Choho will open the first vertical farm in the Netherlands to the public. GROWx is a start-up that focuses on designing and building vertical farms. These farms then supply chefs and distributors with fresh salads and exotic herbs. The developed technology makes it possible to meet chefs’ demands, for example relating to color, texture, flavor and size of the (sprouting) vegetables and salad. In the coming months, GROWx plans to expand its capacity to 2000 m2, enabling it to supply shops as well as restaurants in Amsterdam. In 2019, they expect to expand to 10,000 m2. And in 2025 their goal is to be able to supply half of Amsterdam with Herbs and salads. They then want to build a strong series of vertical farms in European capitals. Eventually, the plan is to help design and build vertical farms all over the world.
GROWx – first vertical farm in the Netherlands founded by John Apesos and biochemical engineer Jens Ruijg aimed at supplying half of Amsterdam with salad and herbs in 2025. More information: http://www.GROWx.co
“We believe urban agriculture demands a revolution. We need a new collective system of feeding the world with a focus on fresh food supply for cities. This requires new bold solutions and vertical farming is part of that solution.”
— John Apesos & Jens Ruijg, cofounders of GROWx Amsterdam

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