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Iceland

Will produce vegetables in greenhouses heated by geysers

Organic farming project for export

The island of ice, Iceland, is given over to the cultivation of tropical fruit: latitude does not play in favor, but thanks to geysers and geothermal energy soon there will be Icelandic papaya. It seems almost a paradox that exotic fruits can grow in those icy heaths, but the technological greenhouses and the abundant heat available in the subsoil compensate for the unfavorable climate.

In recent days, as the Icelandic press reported, a project was presented to build 50 hectares of greenhouses for the organic cultivation of fruit and vegetables. The initiative is carried out by the Paradise Farms company, in agreement with the municipality of Olfus, a small company in southern Iceland. The goal is to produce first of all tomatoes, lettuces, peppers and other vegetables; but as soon as the production model has been broken in, the idea is also to develop the production of tropical fruit: papaya, mango, avocado and banana.

Bio agricolture in Iceland

Science fiction?

Not for Gunnar orgeirsson, president of the Icelandic horticultural union and one of the key figures in the Paradise Farms project. “People are rather interested in this project: we have so much energy available, the point is to understand how and where to use it”. The entrepreneur explained that there are still some technical problems to be solved, above all related to the transport of energy from the production plant to the greenhouse, factors that require important investments. The window plant will require an energy requirement of 150 megawatts for its activities.

To produce fruit and vegetables in Iceland there is not only to overcome the problem of cold, but also that of sunlight, too little. The greenhouses will therefore be illuminated by modern LED systems, in operation 24 hours a day, and to reduce the resulting light pollution, the company plans to screen the greenhouses. “Then there will be a recirculation system for the water used in irrigation, while the excess hot water used for heating will have a second life in the fish farms that will be installed in the area.”

The goal is to produce 5,000 tons of vegetables in the first year, mainly for export: on the other hand, the papaya of the ice island could be an interesting marketing key for positioning the product.

Ellii Vignisson, mayor of Olfus, said that the position identified for the greenhouse plant is unique: flat area (rare in Iceland), abundance of water and energy, nearby port. The first citizen dreams of transforming his territory into an excellence for organic production.

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