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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Adoption of technological innovations in production of leafy vegetables in Sweden

Drottberger, Annie; Bergstrand, Karl-Johan; Fernqvist, Fredrik; Spendrup, Sara


Leafy vegetable production represents high commodity and trade values. Consumption has increased, and will continue doing so according to trading operators. This study examined production of leafy vegetables in different systems and adoption of technological innovations from the firms’ perspective. A qualitative approach was applied to investigate technological innovation adoption in three different production systems: open-field, greenhouse and plant factories with artificial lighting (PFAL). Fifteen owners/managers (five per production system) were interviewed, using semi-structured questions. The firms differed in individual business characteristics and in their decisions to adopt innovations and knowledge. Open-field growers focused on packaging and automation. Growers with closed production systems (greenhouses) were more interested in energy-saving technologies, recirculation of irrigation water and LED lighting. Growers with PFAL systems opted for vertical farming, hydroponic growing techniques and LED lighting. Sources of knowledge on innovations included networks, the internet, international contacts, trade shows, extension services and universities. Overall, adoption of innovations largely depended on what suited the production system. Open-field and greenhouse firms were more interested in new technologies, but certain characteristics in their current systems determined whether an innovation was appropriate. Firms interested in new technologies actively searched for best practice using knowledge inputs from multiple sources.


greenhouse; horticulture; hydroponics; innovation; LED lighting; plant factory; urban agriculture; vertical farming

Published in

European Journal of Horticultural Science
2022, Volume: 87, number: 4, pages: 1-11