The Japanese Factory That’s Revolutionizing Farming

A plant physiologist has figured out a way to grow quality green veggies without the unpredictable effects of nature.

Dec 14, 2014
Lettuce growing under LED lighting in a Mirai factory

Lettuce growing under LED lighting in a Mirai factory (Screenshot)

Humans have made incredible leaps and bounds in growing food since the first agricultural revolution some 10,000 years ago - but fresh produce is often still at the mercy of extreme weather elements like unpredicted storms, floods or droughts. Japanese plant physiologist Shigeharu Shimamura is turning that around, with his line of high-tech, indoor lettuce farms.
Using hydroponic technology, the Mirai company’s indoor farms use LED lights to grow vitamin-rich green vegetables up to three times faster than outdoor farms. And on top of that impressive efficiency, controlling the temperature, humidity and irrigation has significantly cut down water usage - to just one percent of outdoor levels.
Now functioning in 12 locations around Japan, Mirai has also opened a branch in Korea, and is expanding into China, the US, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. And if that weren’t enough - the hydroponic technology is being used in the Japanese Antarctic base.
Like Sky Greens in Singapore, this fascinating farm is another example of food initiatives that buck the trend, bringing us closer to a reality in which fresh, healthy food is readily accessible to people all over the world.

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