On a recent trip to Iceland, one of the places we visited was the Frioheimar Tomato Farm in Reykjavik. What seemed to be an ordinary greenhouse from the outside ended up being one of the most fascinating experiences I have ever encountered. The greenhouse was a family owned business run by a couple and their children. Once inside, there were rows of tomato plants uniformly aligned from one side to the other. The temperature was regulated at 24 degrees celsius, with the electricity to maintain this being provided by geo-thermal power. The geo-thermal power was also used to generate power for the computer systems needed to regulate the light and watering of the tomato plants (24 hours a day, 365 days a year) which the owners had cultivated themselves. This specialised computer system meant the family could go away on holiday and monitor the light and water levels remotely via a computer from wherever they were in the world. The quantity of electricity needed to maintain the daily running of the greenhouse was equivalent to that used by an entire village.
What I found most remarkable was the high level of efficiency needed to run this greenhouse operation. From the regulation of the water, lighting and temperature levels to the picking of the tomatoes and replanting of new plants, all these processes were conducted so methodically to run like clockwork. As the owners pointed out, it is only through the use of advanced technology, that an operation of this scale is possible. To end our visit, we had the opportunity to try freshly made tomato soup, during which time I truly reflected on what I had just observed.