Q&A: Inside Japan’s Largest Indoor Farm

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An abandoned Sony factory in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, has been transformed into what could very well be the farm of the future.

Shigeharu Shimamura, a plant physiologist and CEO of Mirai, has constructed the world’s largest indoor farm—25,000 square feet of futuristic garden beds nurtured by 17,500 LED lights in a bacteria-free, pesticide-free environment. The result? About 10,000 heads of fresh lettuce harvested each day.

The unique “plant factory” is so efficient that it cuts food waste from the 30 to 40 percent typically seen for lettuce grown outdoors to less than 3 percent for their coreless lettuce.

National Geographic spoke with Shimamura recently about the innovative food factory and indoor farms as a potential solution to the global food crisis.

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