“We are actually making a difference here, because we grow next to the consumer, literally,” says Andreas Dahlin, CEO of Swegreen. “There are still many vertical farms that claim to produce sustainable, located close to the consumer, but they don’t mention the last mile. If logistics are needed to get the product to the consumer, they can still make a much bigger difference. That’s why we think this hyper-local model really makes an impact in the supply chain.”
It was all laughs and surprised faces during the opening at the ICA Maxi supermarket in Linköping this week. The opening event of the in-store vertical farm, a service provided and managed by Swedish technology company Swegreen, gained lots of traction from surprised and sometimes confused shoppers. Andreas opened the event by giving a toast to invitees. After explaining the concept, the crowd was allowed a visit to the farm.
Andreas leading the tour. Photo credit: Verticalfarmdaily.
Biggest in Sweden
After successfully launching an in-store farm at ICA Focus, Gothenburg late 2020, the Swedish, fast-growing vertical farming enterprise Swegreen is now rolling out its Farming-as-a-Service concept in Scandinavia. First to get the installation in place is Ica Maxi in Linköping. The 60m2 farm supplies 10 different lettuces and herbs to the store – and more sorts are coming up – which makes this in-store growing facility the biggest in Sweden. Another share of the crops will be used in the store's own kitchen. Every day, several hundreds of crops are harvested that will end up on the shelves very soon after that.
Andreas adds, “The excessive heat from the farm is brought into the supermarket to optimally use all energy of the farm. We’re constantly looking at how we can optimize the cultivation processes up to energy use.”
Andreas explaining on vertical technologies. Photo credit: Verticalfarmdaily.
All technology is supplied and developed by Swegreen, such as the cultivation room and the AI-based control system which controls and optimizes the environment remotely. The farm is fully equipped with sensors, taking a huge relief off the farm operator who normally visits the facility 3-4 hours a day. Robot arms enable the gutters to be automatically moved from the beginning to the end-stage.
All processes are done on the farm, from seeding, breeding, cultivation and harvesting to packing the products. Everything in the farm is visible to the naked eye of store visitors.
Sepehr Mousavi, Chief Innovation Officer, and Innovation Lead at Swegreen explains that all technology is automated. “We can prevent any kind of error in the farm because the sensors will notify our technical services team immediately if something goes wrong to prevent any downtime.”