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Report2021Open access

Introduction and adoption of technical innovations – a study of sustainable production of leafy vegetables in different production systems

Drottberger, Annie


Production of leafy vegetables can take place in a variety of different production systems. Open field and greenhouse production have traditionally been used but alternative production systems with advanced technologies have started to appear lately, e.g. Plant Factories with Artificial Lighting (PFAL). This opens up for new opportunities with increased attention from venture capitalist and investors highlighting food-tech as a new field of interest. At the same time, the technology development can open up for possibilities mainly for firms producing leafy vegetables in greenhouses if they can adopt relevant knowledge and innovations from different production systems. There is also an increased interest for start-up initiatives and businesses in urban settings e.g. urban farming, vertical farming, aquaponics or roof top farms to mention a few models (Thomaier et al., 2015). In contrast, there is furthermore low tech initiatives with market gardening, CSA (community supported agriculture) and small-scale artisan production that can also be important niches for sustainable production of vegetables (Drottberger et al., 2021). These different initiatives can be seen as positive movements influencing society and increasing consumers’ awareness when it comes to food production since the producers often use different business models and alternative food networks compared to the traditional value chain (ibid.). But the fact that new actors are entering the market could also create tensions between urban and rural contexts due to the different backgrounds of the grower and sometimes different possibilities for the businesses e.g. depending on support and policies from society.


greenhouse; horticulture; hydroponics; innovation; LED lighting; vertical farming

Published in

Introductory paper at the Faculty of Landscape Architecture, Horticulture and Crop Production Science
2021, number: 2021:4Publisher: Faculty of Landscape Architecture, Horticulture and Crop Production Science