What I learned from my visit to a Scandinavian microgreens farm
I recently visited a newly started hydroponic farm here in Copenhagen growing microgreens. It was a lot of fun to taste the different plants — for example, I found out that sunflower shoots have a nutty flavor, a clear note of sunflower seeds, and a fresh, crunchy taste — delicious!
What are hydroponic microgreens?
Hydroponic means to grow plants not in the soil, but in water, where the nutrients are circulated. Microgreens are plants harvested while they are still young, typically at the age of 8–25 days.
So basically, these urban farmers grow fresh shoots of plants in water, including pea, sunflower, cilantro, mustard, fennel, garlic, radish, and cucumber.
How cool is that — to eat a burger garnished with fresh mustard shoots, garlic shoots, and pea shoots? Or a salad with fresh shoots from sunflower, cilantro, and cucumber?
Ths particular microgreens farm is called Nabo Farm (meaning Neighbor Farm) and is located in a cool all-in-one living and co-working space for the residents. The farm mainly sells its products to local restaurants. The founders developed their farm with the support of an initiative called Impact Startup, and they are only one of many very cool entrepreneurial endeavors. Check them all out here.
I’m excited about this way of growing plants for eating, because it makes a lot of sense in urban environments, especially when the natural conditions are not optimal for plant growth, such as in colder climates.
What are some of the advantages of hydroponics and microgreens?
- a hydroponic farm requires up to 90 % less water than traditional farming
- more can be grown in less space, because artificial lighting allows for vertical farming, e.g. plants grown in several layers
- weeds are not a problem because there is no soil
- soil-borne diseases are minimal, and the spread of disease…