Will Vertical Farming Be The Future Of Farming ?
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I was first introduced to the concept of vertical farming via “Living with the Land” at Disney’s Epcot theme park two decades ago, also seen in the video published on Feb 10, 2021, (starting around 12:40), “EPCOT Living with the Land FULL Ride POV in 4K | Walt Disney World Orlando Florida 2021“, below:
Over the years, I have seen some local farms starting to implement or transform into vertical farms. As the number of these transformations increases, one may wonder whether vertical farms will gradually take over the world.
To better understand the topic of vertical farming, let’s take a look at an excerpt from wikipedia, in italics, shared below:
Vertical farming is the practice of growing crops in vertically stacked layers. It often incorporates controlled-environment agriculture, which aims to optimize plant growth, and soilless farming techniques such as hydroponics, aquaponics, and aeroponics. Some common choices of structures to house vertical farming systems include buildings, shipping containers, tunnels, and abandoned mine shafts. As of 2020, there is the equivalent of about 30 ha (74 acres) of operational vertical farmland in the world. The modern concept of vertical farming was proposed in 1999 by Dickson Despommier, professor of Public and Environmental Health at Columbia University. Despommier and his students came up with a design of a skyscraper farm that could feed 50,000 people. Although the design has not yet been built, it successfully popularized the idea of vertical farming. Current applications of vertical farmings coupled with other state-of-the-art technologies, such as specialized LED lights, have resulted in over 10 times the crop yield than would receive through traditional farming methods.[failed verification]
The main advantage of utilizing vertical farming technologies is the increased crop yield that comes with a smaller unit area of land requirement. The increased ability to cultivate a larger variety of crops at once because crops do not share the same plots of land while growing is another sought-after advantage. Additionally, crops are resistant to weather disruptions because of their placement indoors, meaning fewer crops lost to extreme or unexpected weather occurrences. Because of its limited land usage, vertical farming is less disruptive to the native plants and animals, leading to further conservation of the local flora and fauna.
Vertical farming technologies face economic challenges with large start-up costs compared to traditional farms. In Victoria, Australia, a “hypothetical 10 level vertical farm” would cost over 850 times more per square meter of arable land than a traditional farm in rural Victoria. Vertical farms also face large energy demands due to the use of supplementary light like LEDs. Moreover, if non-renewable energy is used to meet these energy demands, vertical farms could produce more pollution than traditional farms or greenhouses.
Vertical farming saves water, land, and energy — and it could be how we grow food on Mars, in the video published on May 22, 2021, “Vertical farms could take over the world | Hard Reset by Freethink“, below”
Massive cost reductions in renewable technology combined with some serious advances in technological efficiencies have brought vertical farming closer to the mainstream and now the big money is wading in to invest in these facilities in every major city around the world, in the video published on Jan 3, 2021, “Vertical Farming: Growing fast!“, below:
To produce sufficient food for the estimated – nine billion people in 20 years, experiments with vertical farming, rooftop gardening and even sea-farming are being conducted. Food is inefficiently hauled around the world to feed cities and to provide people who live in places where no food can be grown. Two-thirds of all available fresh water is now being used for food production. Two thirds of all water pollution is caused by the use of pesticides. In order to reduce the amount of foodmiles, the distance that takes food between place of production and consumption, and prevent waste, vertical farms are emerging worldwide. The American company Aerofarms is currently the largest vertical farm in the world. In a former steel factory, looking industrial and raw from outside, and being high tech indoors, the company produces lettuce and vegetable for around 25,000 people in the neighborhood. Aerofarms is putting on this kind of vertical farms in several locations worldwide. Always in the city up to 1.5 kilometers away from a large supermarket or distribution center. But Aerofarm is not the only one. In cities where it is difficult to supply enough fresh food, local entrepreneurs sniff the opportunities and start city-building initiatives. Sometimes small-scale as a social project, sometimes large-scale and necessary, as in Sweden and Singapore. In the Netherlands this need is smaller. Westland is already being cultivated in a very intensive way. On a relatively small piece of land, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers are produced for the whole world. The Netherlands, after the United States, is the second agricultural exporter in the world. Everywhere farmers, gardeners, researchers and mayors come to Germany to inform themselves. The combination of the research power of Wageningen University, the experience of growers and the technological knowledge about the possibilities of led lighting that is indispensable for vertical agriculture makes Germany unique. But is Germany’s position as exporting country to be under pressure as more and more companies from all over the world grow their vegetables and lettuce vertically and locally? In the video published on June 21, 2018, “The rise of vertical farming – VPRO documentary – 2017“, below:
Why vertical farming could be the future of food, in the video published on January 29, 2021, “Does Vertical Farming actually work?” below:
In the video published on February 7, 2020, “Are indoor vertical farms the future of agriculture?” below:
Vertical farming will use “anywhere between 10 to 100 times less water, fertilizer and land, compared to conventional farms”, making a potential game changer when it comes to feeding an ever-growing global population says Stuart Oda, Founder & CEO of Alesca Life. We talk to Stuart about the nuances and complexities of communicating a technology that the world is still grappling with and how it can be rolled out into various markets to supply the various needs of the consumers from low income all the way through to high income geographies, in the video published on July 20, 2020, “#10 “Agricultural Intelligence” with Stuart Oda, Alesca Life“, below:
Vertical Farms Run by AI and Robots To Solve the Land Crisis One of the oldest and most fundamental professions in the world is agriculture and farming and looking back, humanity has come a long way over the millennia in how we farm and grow crops with the evolution of various technologies. Over time, as the world population continues to grow and land becomes more scarce, people have realized the need to get creative and become more efficient in farming. With the population of the world being the largest it has ever been, the responsibility to feed this ever-growing population is getting harder and harder which is why experts think that vertical farming is the future. Vertical farms are indoors and can be placed anywhere, making them crucial in a time where farmable land is on decline, in the video published on February 14, 2021, “5 Vertical Farms Run by AI and Robots | Future of Farming“, below:
Agriculture will have to change drastically in the future if it is to meet global demand. Food production will become increasingly difficult in the face of growing challenges like rapid population growth, climate change and soil exhaustion. In Berlin, too, you can find lettuces growing in beds without soil and under artificial lighting next to restaurant kitchens or in some supermarkets. But in Japan and the US the practice of growing vegetables in huge factory buildings has been around longer. These are a world away from your normal greenhouses. The plants are grown in sterile conditions without the use of any pesticides. The fruit and vegetables produced can be eaten without being washed. And the yield is 100 times greater than in a same-sized area outdoors. The Japanese maker of such high-tech farms is successfully exporting them around the world – to customers in the Arab Emirates and in Asia’s megacities, for example. We will all have to wake up to the fact that food production methods will have to change if our food supplies are to be secure in the future. Increasingly, our cities will have to come up with ways of growing more for themselves and becoming less dependent on rural areas and global food supply chains. At the same time it is imperative to reform conventional farming to make it more weather resistant and less resource intensive, in the video published on November 28, 2020, “When food becomes scarce – high-tech farms of the future | DW Documentary“, below:
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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