Ultra-local vs. Strategic Local - How close will you go?
Hortidaily Sept 24, 2019
The distances travelled by leafy greens are encouraging indoor farmers to join the lettuce market. The trend is going to growing locally. But the question is how local should you go?
It appears there are two schools of thought when addressing this question. One argues that food should be produced ultra-locally in metropolitan areas very close to the consumer, while the other believes that placing large facilities strategically outside metropolitan areas is more viable.
Patrik Borenius from Green Automation Americas is a strong advocate for the strategical local approach. "At least for any operation that intends to compete with field lettuce on a cost basis and thus have a meaningful impact on the current lettuce industry."
He points to the Finnish growers that have managed to turn their indoor grown lettuce into the most common and popular lettuce on the market, essentially “taking over” the shelf space from the (imported) field lettuce. In order to do so, they created a sustainable business model and were able to produce and sell the lettuce at a price comparable to the field grown lettuce. "The higher quality of the indoor grow lettuce did the rest", he says.
These successful Finnish greenhouse growers, all have three characteristics in common. "A strategic location, an efficient way of growing and large operations."