When you think about where the kale or lettuce that you pick up from your local grocery store was grown, you likely wouldn’t think of a warehouse located a few minutes outside of Chicago. The reality is that a migration toward “urban farming” around Chicago and other areas of the country is becoming more popular and cost effective, thanks to advancements in LED testing and lighting.
LED Lights Offer Huge Advantages for City Farmers
For a number of years, consumers have began to utilize LED lighting in homes and offices as a more environmentally-friendly and cost-effective alternative to fluorescent lighting. However, it has taken quite some time for LED lighting to become inexpensive enough to be utilized by farmers looking to grow large amounts of crops, such as lettuce and kale, entirely indoors.
A company in Chicago recently worked with Philips to install 7,000 LED lighting strips to grow lettuce, greens and herbs. Because of the small space needed to house the LED lighting strips, these urban farmers are able to grow a large amount of produce vertically as opposed to the large amount of land that would be required to grow these crops outdoors. Farmers have been able to replace fluorescent lights with LED lights and stack racks of plants as close as two feet apart. With a 30,000 square foot warehouse, this company is currently producing around 4,000 cases of produce each week.
Scaling Food Production is Vital
As population numbers continue to surge around the country, and around the world, it will be more important than ever to increase food production. Using methods such as vertical farming, it allows farmers to more efficiently grow large amounts of produce in a much smaller time frame. Scientists are working to increase the types of crops that are able to be grown through this type of urban farming, but for now, it looks like they’ll continue to be a lot of green (in the form of lettuce, greens and herbs) coming from these city farmers.
As a world leader in light measurement solutions, Gooch & Housego’s instruments & systems provide accurate, repeatable, research-grade measurements in the US-VIS-NIR-IR wavelength ranges. For more information on LED testing or other services at Gooch & Housego, please call us at (407) 422-3171.