led's and lettuce

Urban food gardens are a great way of addressing social inequity in access to fresh food, but not every urban site has the land or water available to set one up.  Philips (yes, the lighting company) has opened up a facility in the Netherlands for researching growing fruits and vegetables in compact spaces, with (you guessed it) LED lighting.

“Our aim is to develop the technology that makes it possible to grow tasty, healthy, and sustainable food virtually anywhere,” says Gus van der Feltz, Philips’ Global Director of City Farming. “The research we are undertaking will enable local food production on a global scale, reducing waste, limiting food miles, and using practically no land or water.”

All sounds great, especially the part about reducing vehicle miles traveled and water use. But...the part about changing the shape, size and oil content of leafy greens is a bit worrisome. And the statistic of growing 900 pots of basil per year from a space 10sqft is impressive, though I doubt Basil is the secret to ending world hunger. That said, it is a step in the direction of mitigating a serious issue.

photo courtesy of Philips City Farm Research Center

photo courtesy of Philips City Farm Research Center