Sustainable Growing

Future of Food

André van Wageningen
November 7, 2023

The need for a more sustainable food system

As the world's population continues to grow, natural resources are becoming increasingly scarce. Let’s have a look at opportunities to ensure plentiful, healthy food production and availability.

10 billion people in 2025

Currently, there are almost 8 billion people on earth and in 2025 there will be another 2 billion. That means we need to produce 50% more food than we did in 2012 to have enough for everyone. Moreover, soil is degrading 10 to 100 times faster than recovery can take place. Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA), such as growing in high-tech greenhouses, actually contributes to a sustainable supply of fresh and healthy food for people in urban environments and beyond

What is the most suitable food production method?

To answer that question, it is necessary to look for the most suitable solution for each specific location; If the soil is very fertile, you should mainly just grow there. But if not, a greenhouse provides a very good option since, in theory, a greenhouse can be placed wherever you want and you can grow whenever you want. We believe that CEA offers a number of advantages over other methods of cultivation. As such, we believe it should be included in policies and legislations that cover the topics of sustainability, water and land use, biodiversity and food production

Focus on impact rather than method

Current laws and regulations focus almost entirely on food production methods. This is important, but more is needed as the need for food production increases while available resources decrease. To ensure a better balance, policy makers need to focus not only on production methods but also on the broader impact of food production, such as the impact on water and land use and biodiversity. The CEA industry has an important role to play in making policy makers more aware and we at Grodan are a huge advocate.

More with less

Grodan’s soilless growing solutions, which include stone wool substrates, are used for the year-round cultivation of crops such as tomatoes and cucumbers in high-tech greenhouses.  Because growing using our steerable stone wool solutions in high-tech greenhouses yields much more per square meter compared to growing in the open ground, more land is left for biodiversity. That's the more.

By using our growing solutions, the plant gets exactly what it needs in terms of water and nutrients. Moreover, water can be collected and reused instead of seeping into the soil. So there is less waste and emissions. That's the less.


To me, it’s a no-brainer; the need for a more sustainable food production system is obvious. The launch of our new “Designed to grow” positioning in June, emphasizes our goal is to make the public and policymakers aware of the impact and importance of sustainable, soilless cultivation. In doing so, Grodan continues to contribute to feeding and treating the world's growing population.

Interested in joining the discussion on raising awareness for the impact of Controlled Environment Agriculture? Contact me at

This blog is based on an interview with André in a special edition of “Future of Food” [link to Krant | Het Financieele Dagblad (] (in Dutch).

André van Wageningen

Head of Public Affairs & Sustainability, Grodan

André van Wageningen, head of Public Affairs & Sustainability at Grodan: ''We make stone wool growing solutions for a high-tech greenhouse that help make the best possible use of the resources available.''


André van Wageningen, Public Affairs Manager Grodan

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