Indoor agriculture thriving in Stockholm thanks to better LEDs

Mia Kleregård, deputy chief executive at Plantagon, inspects her first crop of basil. (Richard Orange/Radio Sweden)
Have LED lights now got so cheap and so efficient that it makes economic and environmental sense to grow herbs, salads and vegetables underground, just metres from the supermarkets and restaurants that sell them? Several companies in Stockholm are betting that it does.

Plantagon, the Swedish company that earlier in the decade won global attention for its plans for a 16-story ‘plantscraper’ in Linköping, in January raised 4.6m SEK for its first city farm on the crowdfunding platform FundedByMe.

Mia Kleregård, the company’s deputy chief executive, takes Radio Sweden into the growing room, three floors underground in the former archives of the Dagens Nyheter newspaper. It’s just below her office on the 22nd floor of the nextdoor DN Tower.

“We see an exponential technology, an explosion with the LED lamps,” she says . “So the business case is far better than when we started looking at the project a year ago.”

The company plans to make its first delivery of basil and thyme to a nearby supermarket in September, when it also hopes to announce the location of the next of the ten udnerground farms it plans to open in the city.

Plantagon is one of at least three companies setting up underground city farms in Stockholm.

Urban Oasis began delivering ‘microgreens’ grown in its underground farm in Liljeholmen to a local supermarket in January.

Grönksa, perhaps Stockholm’s urban farming pioneer, has been supplying LED-grown basil to the city’s Paradiset eco-supermarket since 2016.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Study in Northern Quebec to assess impact of climate change on Inuit’s food, CBC News

China: Arctic Indigenous food culture takes the day at international cookbook awards, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Finland’s strawberry season hastened by warm spring weather, Yle News

Norway: European Arctic swelters under tropical temperatures, breaks heat records, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Lasting drought behind Sweden’s worst projected harvest in 25 years, Radio Sweden

United States: How small investments are improving an Alaska community, Alaska Public Media

Richard Orange, Radio Sweden

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