Greengrower

Name of case study

Greengrower

Location

Aotearoa New Zealand

Location

2022

Scale

In 2023, growing 450,000kg of leafy greens per year. 4000 bags of lettuce per day, and expanding rapidly.

Area / size

6200m2 facility in 2023

NbS employed

 Vertical farming

Type of NbS

created or constructed living ecosystems

Initiator

Tom Schuyt

Funder

The Ministry of Primary Industries granted it $3.5million in 2023

Budget

unknown

Design group

n/a

Vertical farming at Greengrower. Source: https://www.greengrower.nz/#our-people
Minister of Agriculture of New Zealand, Damien O’Connor, and co-founder and chief ‎executive Tom Schuyt, at the launch of MPI Sustainable Food and Fibres Futures program. ‎‎(Credit https://www.stuff.co.nz/ )
Climate change benefits
  • Drought
  • Desertification
  • Flooding
  • increased pests / weeds
  • loss of food production
  • reduced soil quality
  • reduced fresh water availability / quality
  • Wind / storm damage

As New Zealand’s first vertical farm, Greengrower is leading the charge in vertical farming. The company started in 2022, and in 2023 was given a $NZ3.5 million grant by the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries under the Sustainable Food and Fibres Futures programme. The company already produces 450,000kg of greens per year, with plans to expand. The system they use for the facility is fully scalable. Greengrower claim that their plants grow at twice the rate in a controlled environment compared to traditional production, and that capacity will increase up to the equivalent of 150 hectares once the company becomes fully functional.

Read More
Societal / socio-cultural benefits
  • food security
  • waste management and hygiene

Food security is a huge issue in Te Moananui Oceania. Aotearoa New Zealand produces enough food to feed 40 million people a year, most of it exported, yet nearly 1 in 5 children experience food insecurity in the country (Martin, 2023). There is an opportunity to reimagine how we grow and distribute food. Companies like Greegrower, especially with financial support from the Government can grow nutritious, fresh produce locally. The controlled indoor environment means no pests or pesticides are present and the process uses 95% less water than traditional agriculture, in a closed-loop system.

Read More
Ecological benefits
  • Climate regulation
  • Education and knowledge
  • Food production

Greengrower uses significantly less electricity than conventional greenhouses. The power is derived from renewable sources. Because the system uses a fraction of the land that traditional horticulture does, produce can be grown almost anywhere.

As the cost of living increases, more local and consistent supplies means less fluctuation in costs of produce. Cyclone Gabrielle (Aotearoa New Zealand, 2023) taught us that traditional farms are not always a secure food source, so a stable food growing system unaffected by increasingly intense and/or unpredictable weather events will be key to a sustainable future. 

Read More

Summary of case study

Greengrower is Aotearoa New Zealand’s first large-scale vertical farm and is located in Hamilton. Greengrower is partnered with Elevate Farms, a Canadian company that has patented the vertical farming technology used by Greengrower. The technology is scalable, so there is an opportunity for Greengrower to expand across the country. Currently, they grow leafy greens – spinach, kale, herbs and microgreens. They have plans to expand into peas and beans. In 2024, there is focus on longer-term progress and trying to produce produce typically not grown in the Aotearoa New Zealand’s climate.


Further resources:

<< vertical-farms-facade-farming << Green / living walls