Standardization

Current Certifications for organic labeling is not a possibility for Plantagon since the prerequisites for certification are not congruent with sustainable farming within a resilient urban food system of industrial scale. Branding of Plantagon systems will instead focus on added values and the fact that products are produced extremely locally with Best Available Practice in environmental terms.

So, Urban Agriculture by Plantagon would be more sustainable than organic..? Well, Plantagon resilient food systems are designed to be industrial and economically viable. To meet these goals, the functionality of the greenhouse, the quantities and quality of crop production must be secured. Best quality (according to EU-standard) of ready-to-sell produce is planned to be sown, grown, harvested, packed and stored within the building.

Crop production within a Plantagon greenhouse will need to be as flexible and easy to manage, as vegetable production in conventional greenhouses, but by using a strikingly smaller ecological footprint.

The location, shape and the continuously moving production lines of the Plantagon greenhouse initially require a more distinct production planning approach by the grower. Therefore the functions of cultivation technology need to be smart, robust and flexible. In practice, the grower must be able to change crops, climate, and use different harvesting techniques, re-design packing lines and distribution output to follow market demands.

Our effort is to produce amongst the most sustainable vegetables within the urban environment, offering a unique Plantagon-label with added values. To stay true to the Plantagon commitment and brand statement, it is also necessary that the Plantagon production system does not challenge the ecosystems that support prerequisites for future generations.

The Plantagon greenhouse currently meets Best Available Practice (BAP) per 2011 when it comes to the production of edible indoor green deliverables. In a system analysis perspective or in life cycle assessment (LCA) terms, all materials in the building or to the system’s boundary have to meet approved standards that do not allow harmful emissions or more negative effects on the ecosystems than is normally used in the technical solutions of existing greenhouses. One stellar addition to this quality norm, is to also include the transport of materials and goods, to and from the production for the greenhouse.

With this innovation, Plantagon will deliver a modern agricultural solution for the city. We claim our method to be more sustainable than the agronomical certification of organic production within the EU.

The EU logo for organic production is a green leaf contour formed by the twelve EU-stars. In Sweden the most famous label is KRAVSvenskt Sigill is another label, a subcontractor to LRF with its own logo for sustainable / integrated produce.

We believe that if we could imbibe the Plantagon concept of sustainable production within the ecological norms in urban environments, the rationale for market shares is evident. However, our ambitions as defined in our concept converge from traditional ideas on how to produce food and the legislation built upon these ideas. The main problem is the fact that growing medium within current certified organic production remains to be soil which would be very inefficient in a resilient urban food system solution of industrial scale. In the Plantagon system set in urban settings, the mere transportation of soil to and from the greenhouse would be far less sustainable than growing by soil free technology.

EU legislation has not yet reacted on the fact that sustainable urban solutions are on the market. Legislators are probably not fully aware of urban BAP-solutions, which are dependent on growing media that are more flexible in terms of handling (weight, transportation), safer in terms of micro-organisms (such as EHEC/V-TEC, and ordinary zoonosis such as e-coli) and more sustainable than peat (a nonrenewable resource, peat, is one of the main components in standard cultivation today).

Conclusion

Current Certifications for organic labelling is not a possibility for Plantagon since the prerequisites for certification are not congruent with sustainable farming within a resilient urban food system of industrial scale. Branding of Plantagon systems will instead focus on added values and the fact that products are produced extremely locally with Best Available Practice in environmental terms.

Plantagon will actively try to influence the Swedish line of greenhouse production, the Swedish Board of Agriculture and the European agricultural policy. Hopefully ECO-Certified labels already known by consumers today will encompass products grown beyond organic in the future. Until then we are convinced that a sustainable modern production process with closed distribution systems for nutrients and water as well as low weight reusable growing media is the most sustainable way to go for Plantagon. Industrial food production in urban environments, using low growing foot-print area and minimized consumption of water may very well become the optimal solution for many densely populated modern cities worldwide.