TSAI Wenchin is a man with a vision. He is radically rethinking agriculture for the 21st century and inspiring healthier eating habits. He is the founder of the world’s largest vertical farm “YesHealth” Agri-Biotechnology Co. Ltd located to the South of Taipei in Taiwan. His mission is to produce sustainable vegetables that are fresh, nutritious, pesticide free and safe.
His concept is to provide a controlled environment in which plants are grown in vertical trays completely without pesticides, chemicals or soil. Nutrients are water based and delivered through a hydroponic system as biofertilizers made from natural ingredients like soya bean. Lighting is provided by LEDs which are chosen with wave lengths that are tailored to the needs of the plant. Production is year round, with yields much higher than traditional field production.
This method of farming is entirely environmentally responsible, and has a positive impact on the environment. Firstly it consumes much less water than traditional farming, because the precious resource is circulated efficiently, and it is more productive in terms of yield per acre. The objective is to use electricity generated from renewables as much as possible. In terms of food miles, the concept has the potential to reduce energy for transportation when vertical farms of this type are built in urban areas closer to the point of consumption.
The farm at Taoyuan also has a restaurant, shop and visitor centre to cater for tourists, and operates an “ifarm” through which customers can place orders online for delivery.
The company employs about 120 staff, of whom one third are in research and development to constantly improve the cutting edge proprietary technologies underpinning production. The intention is to continuously invest in research and development over the next years, to remain competitive by updating knowledge and sharing with local partners as the technology is optimised.
YesHealth already has operations in Taiwan with a production capacity of 1600 kgs per day and Shenzhen (China) with a production capacity of 2500 kgs per day. It is also actively developing projects in Malaysia and Europe. The local partner company in Denmark is Nordic Harvest which is under a license agreement to share YesHealth’s technology; YesHealth also has a minority share stake in Nordic Harvest. Nordic Harvest’s first vertical farm will be built in Copenhagen and be ready in the third quarter of 2020.
The farm will expand production capacity over the next years and is likely to become the largest vertical farm in Europe with a production capacity in excess of 2500 kgs per day. Nordic Harvest is an ambitious project with plans to expand with more vertical farms into Sweden, Norway and Finland over the next five years.
Nordic Harvest is YesHealth’s first partner project in Europe, but the company is interested in more partnerships with people who share their vision to apply sustainable agriculture practices to produce more healthy and nutritious vegetables for consumers. For more information their headquarters is happy to be contacted.