According to reports, South Korea's high-tech agricultural company NextOn successfully converted a former road tunnel in southern Seoul into a large indoor farm by signing a contract with the government. It is said to be the world's first vertical farm built in a tunnel and the largest vertical farm in Korea with an area of 2,300 m2.
Operators hope to solve the agricultural problems caused by extreme weather caused by climate change, population aging, and national land shortage through indoor vertical farming. According to the statistics of the Korean government, 16% of Korean land was put into agricultural land in 2016. Although the total population has increased by nearly 40%, the rural population has almost halved in the past 40 years, and upgrading agricultural forms is imminent.
According to the project leader, NextOn uses its own growth and harvesting system to grow 60 fruits and vegetables, and 42 have been certified as non-agricultural, herbicide-free and non-GM products.
In addition, LED artificial light lighting technology and some other technologies have also been developed by the company, which has reduced construction costs by half. Overall, crop costs are lower than traditionally grown organic vegetables.
More importantly, the sensors in each vertical layer accurately measure variables such as temperature, humidity, light, carbon dioxide and dust level to keep each crop growing in an optimal environment. The farm began supplying vegetables to major food retailers and leading bakery chains at the end of August. Next, more high-value fruits and herbs will be planted here, and NextOn's goal is to achieve disruptive innovation in the market through mass production.