Image via Farm66
Hong Kong’s urban landscape is often an engineering and town-planning marvel, with its iconic buildings that have worn with time and stunning skyscrapers that line its harbors. However, this leaves little to no room for the city to grow its produce. Only 0.6% of its land is harvestable. With that, in comes Farm66, an indoor farming company that looks to turn the tides on Hong Kong’s lack of agriculture.
Located in Hong Kong’s Tai Po district, a 20,000-square-foot warehouse houses Farm66’s plants and vegetables as it grows under purple LED lights. The indoor farm doesn’t rely on soil and only uses minimal water to grow its plants. And perhaps its most surprising feature is the ability to change the shape and size of the plants it’s growing.
The LED lights that illuminate the warehouse can change the growth of the plants by using different light wavelengths to affect different stages of the plants’ growth. According to Gordon Tam, co-founder of Farm66, blue lights help increase a plant’s size while red lights shrink it.
The technology could promote the growth of lettuce leaves, which are more desirable the larger they get. Meanwhile, fruits like tomatoes and strawberries can have their leaves downsized so more energy is channeled into the fruit.
One of the farm’s most successful experiments, however, was creating basil leaves that were bigger than a person’s head.
Endless possibilities of indoor farming in Agri-Tech! 室內種植的無限可能😉💪☘️🍀
Farm66 utilizes a patented aquaponics system to sustain its plants, with carp fish as one of its main, unexpected, employees.
Fish tanks are placed below the vegetables where the plants help filter the water system for the fish. Plants that cannot be sold will be fed to the fish, whose waste, in turn, becomes fertilizer for the greens.
Mini farms for schools, homes, and businesses are also part of Farm66 repertoire as it continues to develop new and innovative ways to grow your own food. However, despite a US$4 million funding from Alibaba Enterprises Fund and ParticleX, it still finds it difficult to yield profit as the setup for vertical farms remains exorbitant.
A need for homegrown produce was amplified during the pandemic when supermarkets everywhere began to see empty shelves due to the inability to import food. However, Hong Kong’s real estate does not exactly lend itself to perfect farming conditions. Hence, Farm66 found its opening to further push its company into the spotlight. In fact, it has other astronomical plans as it hopes to one day take farming to space with its Future Green Tunnel.