New direction also emphasises need to shift from regulating the method of production to the impact of production
Grodan, part of ROCKWOOL Group, is the world’s leading supplier of stone wool growing media solutions for professional greenhouse growers. Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) is designed to grow food and medicinal crops more resource efficiently than conventional soil-based cultivation, making it possible to produce higher yields using less water, less land, less fertilisers and fewer if any chemical pesticides.
Why this matters? Because the global population keeps getting bigger while natural resources shrink. Having reached eight billion by late 2022, the world will add another two billion people in the next 30 years, many of whom will live in urban environments. That means we will need to produce 50 percent more food than in 2012 to feed the world’s people.
Yet soil is being lost to degradation between 10 and 100 times faster than it is forming, while climate-induced water stress threatens productivity of conventional soil-based agriculture in many parts of the world. Controlled Environment Agriculture is key to supplying urban and other populations with fresh, healthy food for the future.
ROCKWOOL Chief Marketing Officer Mirella Vitale comments, “Being rooted in science, Grodan’s soilless growing media and digital services allow for predictable crop production year-round – anytime, anywhere – with yields up to 40 percent greater than soil-based options, while using less land, water, fertilisers, and pesticides than conventional agriculture. That means we can feed and treat a growing population while simultaneously reducing the burden on the land and other resources. In the best of senses, ‘less is more’ when it comes to future-proofing crop production.
Grodan Managing Director Hub Janssen adds, “Together with our data-driven digital systems to continuously monitor crops’ health and growing needs, Grodan’s stone wool substrates allow professional growers to steer crop cultivation efficiently and sustainably, sometimes with 10 or more growing cycles in a year. That also includes being able to recycle the stone wool substrates after fully exhausting its capacity. In a nutshell, this is the essence of Grodan’s new ‘Designed to grow’ brand initiative”.
Changing course on regulations
Another important issue is that current regulations focus almost exclusively on production methods. This is important but increasingly insufficient as demand for crop production grows while available resources shrink. To rectify this imbalance, ROCKWOOL and Grodan believe the regulatory focus needs to shift away from a focus on production methods toward greater emphasis on the broader impact of crop production – including the impact on other resources including land, water, and biodiversity as well as the circularity of the crop production.
To learn more about Grodan’s brand positioning, including a new video, please visit www.grodan.com/designedtogrow