Daan Roosegaarde Mixes Art and Agriculture

As one of the world’s largest agricultural producers, the Netherlands is a hub for innovative and sustainable farming. From the University of Wageningen’s use of alternative soil composite and Rotterdam’s floating farm, the Netherlands has a reputation for bringing creativity to the sciences. The newest addition to the Netherlands groundbreaking innovations comes from the Dutch artist and designer Daan Roosegaarde. Using photobiology light science, Roosegaarde’s light installation titled GROW enhances plant growth and helps reduce the use of pesticides by up to 50%. The installation uses a solar-powered light recipe of blue, red, and ultraviolet light that shines over 20,000 square metres of leek crops. While the hypnotizing lights dance across the field, the leeks build disease resistance and build their metabolism without the added toxins in pesticides. Specific light recipes have even been shown to influence when plants flower, how they taste, their shelf life, and their levels of vitamins and antioxidants.

Designed under the artist-in-residence program of Rabobank, GROW took two years to develop, with the help of experts at Wageningen University & Research, Springtij Forum, and the World Economic Forum in Davos. Roosegaarde and his team at Studio Roosegaard intend to bring the installation to 40 countries, potentially shaping the exhibition to the light needs of different plants. Roosegaarde also has plans for a new installation this year titled URBAN SUN. This light-based exhibit uses light wavelengths of 22 nanometres, which is proven to eliminate up to 99.9% of the coronavirus, to clean public spaces and allow people to feel connected again. 

Roosegaarde’s euphoric dreamscape taps into the important concept of combining art and science to create a more sustainable future. Through shedding light on both plants and the efforts of farmers, Roosegaarde highlights an essential industry that tends to go unnoticed. GROW is an homage to the artistry in agriculture, showing the world the path it is paving to a more sustainable future.