Lighting

LED grow lights help vertical farming

13th May 2021
Alex Lynn

More than 70% of the fruit and vegetables consumed in Sweden today are imported by truck, ship or plane from other countries. With the aim of making food production more sustainable, Swedish vertical farmer and salad producer Ljusgårda, plans to increase its production 20-fold.

Ljusgårda plans to do this by expanding its cultivation capacity to produce at least 60 tons of salads a month, which is the equivalent of around 1 million bags. In April, the first batch of salads was harvested in the company's new premises – and already now, Ljusgårda can deliver significantly more locally grown salad to Swedish households, all year round. When the new 7000-m2 indoor farm, of which 2500 m2 growing area, is completed in the summer, Ljusgårda will become one of Europe's largest vertical farms.

Signify is helping the Swedish pioneers in the field of vertical farming to expand their production facility in Tibro. By expanding its cultivation area from 300 m2 to 2500 m2, Ljusgårda will be able to supply fresh, locally produced salad all year round. Signify is providing the company with its latest high-tech solutions: Philips GreenPower LED production modules and the Philips GrowWise control system. These allow the light spectrum and lighting levels to be controlled, resulting in improved quality and higher yields per square meter.

As a result, Ljusgårda can ensure that its salads are highly tasty and nutritious. LED lighting also makes it simpler to predict growth levels, which means that it is easier for Ljusgårda to adapt its production to market demand during the season. The lighting is managed by the Philips GrowWise control system to schedule growth cycles well in advance and to allow for greater automation.

"Our expansion will enable us to offer our sustainably grown salads to more Swedish households throughout the year, so we are looking forward to an exciting time," said Andreas Wilhelmsson, CEO of Ljusgårda. "Signify has extensive experience of advanced lighting solutions and works with other large-scale indoor farms. They provide us access to lighting experts who can help us to continuously improve production. Signify is also one of the few suppliers with the capacity to deliver in line with our growth plan. Together we are expanding our facility in Sweden. Signify’s controllable light spectrum enables us to optimise the light for cultivation and produce the highest quality crops."

Today, Ljusgårda's salads are sold in more than 60 ICA supermarkets, mainly in the Swedish regions of Västra Götaland and Småland. With the expansion of the facility and production on a much larger scale, Ljusgårda aims to supply sustainable Swedish salads to stores throughout Sweden.

Henrik Nørgaard, Nordic Commercial Director of Agriculture at Signify, said: "We are delighted to help Ljusgårda to produce local, climate-smart salads.1 Ljusgårda shares our vision of a sustainable transformation within agriculture and is focusing in particular on quality and flavor. This is important to Signify because of our strategic goal of helping our customers accelerate the use of sustainable farming to improve agriculture’s impact on climate change.

“By using the latest lighting systems in vertical farming, Ljusgårda can supply salads that meet the highest food safety standards. The right lighting also results in plants of a higher quality and a higher percentage of crops being consumed, reducing food waste. Additionally, by helping Ljusgårda to grow locally we contribute to significantly reducing the food miles these salads have to travel before making it to Swedish consumers. We are therefore proudly taking part in the journey from the first green shoots to more consumers being able to enjoy Swedish salads all year round."

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