You've probably heard of farm-to-table, or even farm-to-fork, agricultural movements that emphasize the connection between producers and consumers. But what about factory farm-to-table?
Spread, a giant factory farm that grows lettuce in Kameoka, Kyoto Prefecture, is just one of more than 200 "plant factories" in Japan capable of harvesting 20,000 heads of lettuce every day. Their lettuce, which includes frilly and pleated varieties, is grown in a totally sterile environment: There's no soil or sunlight, no wind nor rain.
The rich, dark-brown soil in which produce has traditionally been grown is utterly alien inside the factory. Instead, the lettuce is grown hydroponically, in a nutrient-rich gelatinous substance. The vegetables grow in vertically stacked trays under LED lights timed to come on during the day and switch off at night.