Food Security and Renewable Energy: Pre-summit interview with Henner Schwarz, President of Kalera International

We caught up with Henner ahead of the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit to talk about how Kalera is approaching urban planning challenges for vertical farms.

How can urban production systems strengthen Asia’s food system?

I see three aspects here: Short transport distances allow urban production systems to have a much smaller CO2 footprint. Producing all year round allows indoor vertical urban production to contribute to food security. Being independent of transport resilience demands also means we can grow crops that can be richer in taste and nutrition levels.

With reference to renewable energy sources and residential freshwater consumption, how does city planning play a part in urban food production?

When building sustainable vertical farms, choosing a location near a renewable energy source is almost mandatory in the long term. It is always one of our first requirements. Residential freshwater is less of a concern given the low consumption of this type of cultivation. For city planning it is however crucial to bring urban food production back into the picture and not only focus the classical working area/living area approach when planning for city districts.

How will expanding vertical farming, CEA and aquaculture facilities impact waste management in cities?

Not that dramatically if the farms are run sustainably and have the capability to build a demand-driven production to avoid waste.

Why is the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit an important date in your diary? Who are you hoping to meet?

We are opening our new Mega Farm and the global R&D centre in Singapore at the end of this year and we see so many opportunities for collaboration coming from this. We see the summit as one of the launchpads for our continued efforts in the region.

Kalera is a Gold Partner and networking drinks host (day one) at the 2022 Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit and Henner will moderate the CEA & Vertical Farming Leaders Forum. See the full agenda here.