City farms that grow with LED lighting 

Sustainability is a key concept that drives much of the innovation strategy at Philips. The planet's resources should, we believe, be treated with far more respect and responsibility. With that in mind, our research centres are determined to ensure that new products work in tandem with the environment and protect it.

Take space and sunlight, for instance. They're in short supply in Britain's city farms, with the sprawl of urbanisation growing more dramatic every year — but advanced artificial light can increase the quality and quantity of vegetables in an energy-efficient manner.

By growing crops vertically, farms can pack more plants per acre than in a typical field farm, which results in more harvests per year".

 

Philips Horticulture: sustainable farming lighting, Philips/Telegraph media partnership 2014

In a unique collaboration, Philips and Green Sense Farms (GSF), a commercial grower in the Chicago area, USA, have partnered to develop one of the largest indoor commercial farms using LED grow lights. Working together, Philips continues to innovate and perfect LED lighting for indoor growing systems that encourage maximum plant photosynthesis while reducing energy consumption, for delicious and nutritious vegetables grown in a sustainable manner.

805 million

people globally are estimated to be undernourished. This has decreased by more than 100 million over the last decade.

 

Citation: The State of Food Insecurity in the World Today, FAO

By growing crops vertically with the use of artificial lighting, city farms can pack more plants per acre than a typical field farm, which results in more harvests per year. Far less waste is produced, there is no agricultural run-off and there are, crucially, minimal greenhouse gases because the food is grown where it is consumed.


This is the kind of pioneering, accelerated innovation that, in an increasingly urbanised world, can help to feed growing populations without damaging the planet. It's not just Britain that benefits from city farming and indoor growing systems.

Many urban centres across the world struggle with space and light; flexible, controllable and energy-efficient LED systems have huge potential to help address this challenge. Drawing on fundamental knowledge of the role of light in plant biology, Philips is turning that potential into reality. Its tailor-made horticultural lighting recipes help growers increase yields, cut costs and extend growing seasons. And this knowledge is helping to usher in a new era of city farming, where food is grown locally in limited spaces without natural daylight.

The United Nations predicts that the world's population will grow by 2.3 billion people by 2050, and that 68% of us will live in cities. Worryingly, 80% of the land that is suitable for growing food is already in use. This is driving the emergence of city farming, which involves growing plants indoors in multilayer stacks with no access to natural daylight at all.


With no natural daylight, the right artificial lighting is essential. The use of these pioneering LEDs offers a significant advantage over traditional horticultural lamps, producing light in very pure colours and spectral levels that increase harvests and regulate quality. Using LEDs and optimised lighting, 'recipes' have a big role to play in modern horticulture: improving yields, cutting energy consumption, allowing us to enjoy our favourite produce year-round and increasing nutritional value.

In addition, the energy efficiency of LED systems means that companies can save money — making a real difference not only to people's lives, but to budgets too.

What percentage of the population is predicted to live in cities by 2050?

Approximately 70%. While the world population is predicted to increase to over 9 billion. A growing population is likely to increase pressures on the natural resources that supply energy and food. Citation: OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050

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