The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens

Swedish firm seeks interest in urban greenhouse plan

Should food be grown in large spherical greenhouses near the center of cities rather than shipped around the world?

That was the proposal unveiled at the Swedish Embassy in Washington last week by Plantagon International, a Swedish firm that is attempting to find international interest in the model greenhouse it has designed, but not yet built.

“We need to grow as much as possible on a small amount of land as close to the population as possible,” said Simon Hassle, son of company founder Hans Hassle.

The core of the Plantagon greenhouse mechanism is a spiral-shaped transport mechanism that slowly moves hundreds or even thousands of soil-filled planting boxes upward, as the plants grow. When they reach the top, the mature plants are pushed out onto a harvest platform, and new boxes of soil and seed are pulled into the bottom.

The spherical shape of the greenhouse is designed to maximize the amount of sunlight available for plant growth. The company maintains that the greenhouses could be profitable because they would reduce the amount of money spent on transportation, distribution and handling.

Plantagon officials said they believe the greenhouses would also address the issue of possible water shortages in the future.

Oren Lyons
Oren Lyons, Plantagon International
“We are challenging the carrying capacity of the earth. There is no alternative to water,” said Oren Lyons, the chairman of Plantagon International.

Lyons is a member of the Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy and a professor of American studies at the State University of New York, Buffalo.

The Onandaga Nation has made an investment in Plantagon because it is “a way to feed the megacity populations of the future,” Lyons said.