Japanese Farmer is Growing the Lettuce of the Future

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Japanese Farmer is Growing the Lettuce of the Future

General Electric Japan Lettuce 310x

Indoor lettuce farm uses LED lighting, produces 10,000 heads of lettuce per day.

If a Japanese farmer's plans are fully realized, industrial-scale produce farming is moving indoors.

The GE Projects blog has a spotlight on Shigeharu Shimamura, a large-scale farmer in Eastern Japan that recently moved his lettuce-growing operations into an old Sony electronics warehouse.

The facility is 25,000 square feet, and is now producing 10,000 heads of lettuce per day. The method to the madness? General Electric-built LED lighting arrays that are specifically designed for plant growth.

The LED arrays and the lighting schedule provide optimum "night-and-day" cycles, keeping the photosynthesis process at its most efficient. The warehouse farm has a total of 17,500 LED lights fixed on 18 growing racks. Each rack has 15 levels, which is how 10,000 heads of lettuce fit into such a space.

Not only is the farm weather-proof (natural disasters aside), but it's also incredibly water-efficient. Shimamura says his operation uses only one percent of the water used by a traditional lettuce farm with the same production rate.

If this sort of indoor farming is applied to other vegetables, it could help stem the tide against both food and fresh water shortages.

Source: GE Reports

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The facility is 25,000 square feet, and is now producing 10,000 heads of lettuce per day.

...

Not only is the farm weather-proof (natural disasters aside), but it's also incredibly water-efficient. Shimamura says his operation uses only one percent of the water used by a traditional lettuce farm with the same production rate.

This is incredible. I wonder to what extent it might apply to other agricultural products. Can it save forests from being cleared to ramp up production? Make biofuel viable?

This is genuinely mind blowing. I hope this sort of farming can be adapted to other forms of produce.

Sweet sounds like Anno 2070 style farming

is there anything particularly futuristic about the lettuce? does it say "feed me Seymour"? actually that's not very futuristic either... thats deliciously eighties

I'd say Japanese Farmer growing lettuce the way of the future since it more about the method and less about the greens

That's... awesome. *runs outside* "Hey guys! The future's here!"

In all seriousness, that's something that we really need, yet at the same time is really cool. My random-science hunger for the day is very satisfied.

That's nothing new. I've known people that were growing pot using the same method as early as 2007.

I wonder about the power cost though. North American has low power cost for the most part, Quebec being the lower afaik, but for other parts of the planet it is very expensive.

Nonetheless, overall I think it's a great idea and hopefully it's viable. No pesticide, no useless crap. Only vegetables, water, dirt. Nice.

Gennadios:
That's nothing new. I've known people that were growing pot using the same method as early as 2007.

Were those people growing produce on this kind of massive scale? It's one thing to grow for family and a few friends, entirely different when you can feed an entire region or country.

I hope this trick works on plants other than Lettuce, I don't really like Lettuce.

Did it have to be lettuce of all things?

Joking aside, this seems almost too good to be true.
I wonder about the possibility of offsetting the lighting cost with solar panels or wind power (,geo-thermal?), depending on location of course.
I'm also thinking that much produce would have a detrimental effect on market prices in the long run, given that more companies will be starting up similar productions.

Vendor-Lazarus:
...offsetting the lighting cost with solar panels...

Take 25 acres of lettuce. Replace with one facility. Power with 50 acres of solar panels. XD The future is heeeeere!

This is great! Depending on the power cost they might be able to replace the farmland poisoned by the Fukushima reactor with just one or two nuclear reactors!

Devin Connors:

Gennadios:
That's nothing new. I've known people that were growing pot using the same method as early as 2007.

Were those people growing produce on this kind of massive scale? It's one thing to grow for family and a few friends, entirely different when you can feed an entire region or country.

Well I would like to think that is will be used to those ends, but Capitalism has taught me different. Some major corporation is going to buy this out and it will either be shut down or abused for massive profits, therefore ending any dreams of feeding the public. This discovery should mark the ability to almost completely end hunger, with the rapid growth rate and seriously reduced space taken up to create these 10,000 a day. It should basically be a public service, but it won't. I'm not trying to be the negative nelly here, but don't get too excited about this until you actually see them giving this stuff out for free or incredibly cheap.

Vendor-Lazarus:
Did it have to be lettuce of all things?

I think the main reasons it started with lettuce: A) This farmer was already growing lettuce through more traditional farming methods, and B) I think lettuce is relatively easy to grow, compared to other vegetables.

Here's hoping the next project involves red peppers or cucumbers!

-Devin Connors

Wow congratulations you discovered hydroponics it's only been around since 1627.

I wish the report was more specific as to wattage, frequencies, colour temperature, etc. I've been trying to figure out what kind of LEDs to get for a lighting mod I'm doing on my aquarium.

A link to where I could buy them would also have been helpful.

Water is cheap and renewable, electricity on the other hand.............

ExtraDebit:
Water is cheap and renewable, electricity on the other hand.............

Depends on the country. There are many places where water is anything but cheap and renewable.

Great! Except this won't end any world hunger or anything. If anything, 'fancy lettuce' will cost a premium. Fancy anything will; look at organic food.

The easier it gets, the more it costs for consumers... >_>

But, hey, its progress I guess....

That's about double the density of the hydroponic farms they have around here. Pretty nice advances. I'm sure they'll be in every hydroponic farm in a year or two (because anything that increases productivity increases profits exponentially for hydroponic farmers.

It's now impossible to get a Boston/Butter lettuce around here that isn't hydroponic but at least they're fresh (because they grow them here) and tasty. Hydroponic lettuce is a bit softer and sparser but I like it.

michael87cn:
Great! Except this won't end any world hunger or anything. If anything, 'fancy lettuce' will cost a premium. Fancy anything will; look at organic food.

The easier it gets, the more it costs for consumers... >_>

But, hey, its progress I guess....

Yes, those who are absolutely obsessed with fanciness, organic-ness, "WE DON'T WANT GENETIC MODIFICATION", etc. will have to pay more for the grown stuff.

The rest of us who realize that this method of growing makes absolutely no difference (or at least, very little; hey, I'm not a biologist or a lettuce connoisseur) in quality/edibility of the lettuce will get to reap the benefits of far lower prices, because this stuff can and probably will be mass-produced like hell.

farm skyscrapers,
why building outwards when you can build upwards!

gittonsxv:
why building outwards when you can build upwards!

been saying this about construction in general for ages.....who needs a sprawling city. build a superstructure tower of sorts that IS the city. if anything it'll make transportation for all the quickly grown produce a lot easier too XD

michael87cn:
Fancy anything will; look at organic food.

*looks at organic food*

*notes its cheapness*

Maybe if you don't buy it at a supermarket next to the other stuff. I dunno. I've got this thing where I don't get where this claim comes from. People sell organic at a huge markup in places where people will pay a premium for a premium brand, but the market only goes that far.

Regardless, the benefit of this comes from its ability to mass produce food. That severely limits its usefulness as a premium crop.

Man look at all those useless scincey type people and their unnatural advancements.

Wouldn't want them doing anything crazy now with their GMO grown foods and now LED unnaturally grown foods to go and solve something like world hunger now would we?

Finally, news of the future that doesn't instantly tip off my "...but it'll never actually happen" inner cynic. :D

I mean, 1% of normal water usage? That right there is insane.

ExtraDebit:
Water is cheap and renewable, electricity on the other hand.............

...is being fired at us constantly by this freaking massive star nearby. :D

ExtraDebit:
Water is cheap and renewable, electricity on the other hand.............

I keep hearing people predicting that some of the more massive wars in the near future might very well be fought because of limited water supplies, in certain countries. And agriculture is one of the major drainers of water reserves.

OT: Bloody awesome, though I keep wondering how cost much technology is needed for building all of this.

michael87cn:
Great! Except this won't end any world hunger or anything. If anything, 'fancy lettuce' will cost a premium. Fancy anything will; look at organic food.

The easier it gets, the more it costs for consumers... >_>

But, hey, its progress I guess....

Organic food costs more for consumers because it costs more to produce (e.g. no pesticides, so more lost crops; no genetic modification, so less produce per crop etc). This method should, eventually, be far cheaper than standard farming techniques. Your statement that "The easier it gets, the more it costs for consumers" is the complete opposite of how markets work.

Demonchaser27:

Devin Connors:

Gennadios:
That's nothing new. I've known people that were growing pot using the same method as early as 2007.

Were those people growing produce on this kind of massive scale? It's one thing to grow for family and a few friends, entirely different when you can feed an entire region or country.

Well I would like to think that is will be used to those ends, but Capitalism has taught me different. Some major corporation is going to buy this out and it will either be shut down or abused for massive profits, therefore ending any dreams of feeding the public. This discovery should mark the ability to almost completely end hunger, with the rapid growth rate and seriously reduced space taken up to create these 10,000 a day. It should basically be a public service, but it won't. I'm not trying to be the negative nelly here, but don't get too excited about this until you actually see them giving this stuff out for free or incredibly cheap.

Hunger hasn't been a problem in the developed world for decades. The reason that some developing countries are still affected by famine is because there's no cheap way to import food without it spoiling, and getting any food at all to remote regions can be almost impossible (especially in times of war). Famine in the third world is a transportation and security problem, not one of production

Aeshi:
I hope this trick works on plants other than Lettuce, I don't really like Lettuce.

Same here. I suppose if the world's food problem hinges solely on lettuce for survival, I wouldn't complain that much, but from my current standpoint, I have to say lettuce is bland and I don't like the consistancy, and there ARE better vegetables.

Now, they definitely need to move to a vegetable that actually has some nutritional content. Quite a few ecologists, botanists and economists recognize that lettuce is just a way of moving water across country at ridiculous prices. It is so lacking in nutritional content that it really should be banned. Grow some potatoes, carrots and peanuts that way and you'll have a winner.

Well that's pretty cool. Sounds like a great method for producing more lettuce than the world has room for and solving all salad based dilemmas facing the entire world. It's just a shame that lettuce tastes like chlorophyll soaked toilet paper and goes all gooey and mouldy within days even in the fridge. Long live cabbage.

yet when we use the same method with chickens and pigs everyone's up in arms about battery farming...vegetables have feelings too!

Zachary Amaranth:

michael87cn:
Fancy anything will; look at organic food.

*looks at organic food*

*notes its cheapness*

Maybe if you don't buy it at a supermarket next to the other stuff. I dunno. I've got this thing where I don't get where this claim comes from. People sell organic at a huge markup in places where people will pay a premium for a premium brand, but the market only goes that far.

Organic foods are expensive wherever you get them. As said by another user, this is due to lower production output organic farming yields, so as a result they have to jack up the prices to make a profit.

Doesn't matter where you get them, a grocery store that offers both, a store that only offers organics, hell even at farmer's markets where you get them straight from the farmers, you're going to be paying at the very least three times as much as you would for the non organic variety.

I'd link the Bullshit episode on organics, but since there's boobs, I can't.

OT: YES. PUT MONEY TOWARDS THIS! Figure out how to do this for a whole mess of other food crops! I want The world needs this thing on a large scale NOW!

michael87cn:
Great! Except this won't end any world hunger or anything. If anything, 'fancy lettuce' will cost a premium. Fancy anything will; look at organic food.

The easier it gets, the more it costs for consumers... >_>

Actually, the Easier it gets, the more is produced and the more it's produced, the Cheaper it gets, which is why for most of America's history, Farmers have been Poor. I won't disagree with you that for a short time, this kind of food will be more expensive then regularly grown food. But once it becomes the Standard Practice, it'll become even cheaper.

OT: This is neat! And Lettuce is the only thing I eat in my salads (That, the Dressing on it and Cucumbers), so this'll help my Lettuce only Salads!

Also, this can easily help keep society going if any Super Volcano erupts.

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