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Doctoral thesis, 2023

Introduction and adoption of innovations in horticultural production systems

Drottberger, Annie


Horticultural production occurs in various production systems, dominated by greenhouse and open-field production. During the last decade, alternative production systems with more advanced technologies, such as LED lighting and artificial intelligence, have started to appear, e.g., plant factories with artificial lighting. This opens up new opportunities where increased attention from venture capitalists and investors highlights food-tech as an innovative field of interest. Technological development can also accelerate possibilities, mainly for firms producing in greenhouses, if they can adopt relevant knowledge and innovations from other production systems. Another aspect is the increased interest in start-up initiatives and businesses in urban settings, e.g., urban farming, vertical farming, aquaponics, or rooftop greenhouses, to mention a few models. In parallel, low-tech initiatives are developing, e.g., market gardening and small-scale artisan production, which can also be important niches for the sustainable production of vegetables. The innovative production systems often use alternative food networks and different business models, e.g., Community Supported Agriculture or Product Service Systems, often with shorter supply chains. These different initiatives are also associated with positive movements influencing society and increasing consumers’ awareness of sustainable food production. However, the fact that new actors are entering the market could also create tensions between urban and rural contexts due to the different backgrounds of business owners. This is further accelerated by the different conditions for the firms, e.g., depending on support and policies from the innovation system and society in general.


greenhouse; horticulture; hydroponics; innovation; LED lighting; market gardening; plant factory with artificial lighting; rooftop greenhouse(s); urban agriculture; vertical farming

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2023, number: 2023:95
ISBN: 978-91-8046-242-6, eISBN: 978-91-8046-243-3
Publisher: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

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