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New Zealand needs to up its horticulture game in a climate-changing world

Updated Mar 27, 2023
While new to NZ, vertical farming is well recognised internationally.
The devastation caused by recent cyclones has all too graphically illustrated the need for New Zealand to start seriously considering alternative options for horticulture. The government has made a start by offering $3.53m to support a four-year programme with NZ’s first commercial vertical farm, Greengrower at Waikato’s Innovation Park in Hamilton. Leafy greens, such as lettuce, spinach and herbs, are grown in trays and in tunnels, receiving optimal sunlight, water and humidity to ensure maximum growth rates and efficiency. Plants can reach maturity in half the time of those grown outside. The Hamilton facility uses 1% of the water used in outdoor farming, without the runoff or leaching from an outdoor farming system. The weather gods are taken out of the equation and vegetables, once considered seasonal, can be grown all year round. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor insists vertical farming will complement, rather than replace existing outdoor food productions systems. He ...
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