A new report from SLU Future Food explores the development of smart urban agriculture in Sweden and analyses it in relation to high level policy agendas such as food policy, smart city and digitalisation.
Smart urban agriculture typically refers to food produced indoors in contained and digitally augmented environments such as vertical farms, plant factories and aquaponic systems. In such systems, plants are grown in narrow beds that are stacked in layers, and with the roots covered in a nutrient-rich mist. These systems use artificial light (usually LED light), climate controls and add nutrients to plants in closed environments that are monitored by sensors. Smart urban farms can be found in urban locales across the globe. They are typically driven by commercial interests, which differs from traditional images of urban agriculture, which highlight social or environmental motives, e.g. urban health.
Smart urban agriculture is, however, contested. On the one hand, it is viewed by its proponents as a promising way to produce fresh food all year around, using fewer chemicals and reducing food miles. Critical voices, on the other hand, state that it is a marginal activity that requires energy intensive artificial lighting and produces food with low nutritional value.
Technological advances in digitalisation and agriculture as well as social and economic developments may however, create opportunities for smart urban agriculture to become a realistic food supply. A new report from SLU Future Food explores the development of smart urban agriculture in Sweden. Specifically, it identifies experimental and entrepreneurial initiatives and analyses these initiatives in relation to high level policy agendas such as food policy, smart city and digitalisation.
Smart Urban Agriculture – Exploring its Development in Sweden. Publ. Year 2022. Future Food Reports #18. Authors: Per-Anders Langendahl, Maria Tunberg and Suvi Kokko.