Daylight-Free Cultivation

How does a plant grow?

Plants take in water and nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphate via the roots. Plants absorb CO2 via the leaves. Using light, the plant carries out photosynthesis and produces sugars, which can be transported to sweet fruits like strawberries or to areas of the plant where the sugars will be burned in order to use the energy released for the maintenance of existing plant parts, for building new cells (growth) and for making substances such as antioxidants and vitamins. The speed of most of the processes in the plant is light- and temperature-dependent. CO2 concentration, humidity and wind speed are other important environmental factors. In addition to light, which is required for photosynthesis, various other forms of radiation have an influence on plants. For example, UV can ensure that red lettuce develops a better colour.

What happens in a climatic chamber?

In a climatic chamber, the plant is provided with all growth factors in the best possible way. The plant always has sufficient water, nutrients and CO2; it receives the most effective wavelengths of light, the right day length and temperature and the best humidity level. All growth factors are continuously optimised so that plants can grow as much as possible and develop the perfect taste and quality. Because the system is closed, no CO2 is lost for example. Because the plants grow optimally there is little chance of disease, meaning that they can be cultivated without fungicide.

What is a city-farm product?

Not only does produce from a city farm look good because it's super-fresh, but it tastes just as good as – and often better than – other horticultural products because the cultivation can be controlled to optimise quality and taste. Chemical crop protection agents are not needed; in that way a city-farm product is comparable to an organic horticultural product. And all of that year-round regardless of the season. Because it's always spring in a city farm (if we want it to be).

Can I buy my own?

Not yet, but who knows what BrightBox will bring us in the future. Products from city farms are already available in Asia (there are more than 100 city farms in Japan) and in a number of major cities in the US. There are also urban agriculture initiatives in many large cities (non-commercial and in the open air), as well as a few commercial initiatives such as one in London in an empty underground tunnel (former bomb shelter). The BrightBox is the first Dutch city farm where the final products will be tested in the wholesale trade, hospitality industry and supermarkets. The Netherlands is a leading country in agriculture and horticulture, where you can buy a wide range of fresh quality products every day for a low price.