­čî▒Moving to both, high-tech and low-tech solutions

Highlighting an Eco-Champion: Ali Amirlatifi ­čîŹ

On behalf of the Association for Vertical Farming, we celebrate Ali’s remarkable achievements and unwavering commitment to a more sustainable and inclusive future. We enjoyed hearing his presentation on growing a million trees in vertical farming at the AVF summit of 2023 in Dortmund.┬á

Ali’s journey has taken us to the heart of Saudi Arabia, where the challenges of high water consumption, energy usage, land usage, and sustainability have long plagued the agriculture industry. Ali and his team at Evergreen Oy have introduced a groundbreaking solution: Grow 360. This innovative system can accommodate an astonishing 40,000 plants in a mere 9 square meters, utilizing cylinders, units, stacks, and trays. What’s truly remarkable is that Grow 360 operates on a minimal 3.1 kWh of electricity, a fraction of what other systems would demand. Instead of hundreds or even thousands of LED lights, Ali employs just 17 LED lights, thanks to the ingenious rotational cylinders that ensure each plant receives the optimal amount of light. Furthermore, utilizing a mere 1.4 ml of water per plant daily represents a game-changer in sustainable agriculture.

Not only has Ali’s work revolutionized farming efficiency, but it has also addressed the global issue of food security. With 10% of the population going to bed hungry and 46% lacking access to advanced technology, Ali has removed the tech barrier from Grow 360, empowering communities to grow food sustainably.┬á His latest endeavour, Grain 365, is set to empower 8,000 African female farmers. This initiative will enable them to sustain their families and communities through a cutting-edge conveyor belt system. Powered by renewable energy and a Biochar system, it harnesses the heat from saltwater to create steam, which, in turn, fuels a steam generator. The vapour is cooled down and used for watering the plants.

Through trials, they’ve grown barley with more nutrients than alfalfa, enhancing animal nutrition. Ali has also developed innovative lighting solutions, ensuring optimal plant growth and the production of nutrient-rich crops.

But Ali’s vision┬ádoesn’t stop with food production; it extends to the regrowth of desert spaces by growing trees. Ali’s ambition knows no bounds. He aims to produce 1 million trees every three weeks by the end of this year and 10 million by 2026 in Riyadh alone. His commitment to sustainability and a better world is truly inspiring.

In the words of Ali, “We have one world, and it pains me that we cannot do this in Europe. We need to take care of this whole world together.” He envisions a future where vertical farming can address our climate goals, reduce hunger, and promote sustainability through the power of trees.

So, let us act! Let us join hands with Ali Amirlatifi and the Association for Vertical Farming to create real, impactful change. Let’s move beyond basil and lettuce and find low-tech solutions as well, and together, we can make the world a better, greener, and more sustainable place.

In conclusion, Ali’s dedication and innovations remind us that we can turn challenges into opportunities. Trees are our allies in reducing CO2, and through vertical farming, we can achieve our hunger and climate goals while fostering sustainability.

Join us in this mission for a brighter future!

By Isabelle van Doorn