The Farming Industry is Growing Up: A Look into Vertical Farming
As we become a more educated society we learn how to improve our quality of life and reduce our impact on the planet.
In response to new data available to folks via the internet, society is changing its views on health and diet. Consumers are becoming more conscious, they want to know what is in their food, where it comes from, and how it is grown.
In response to new data available to the agricultural industry, farmers and affiliated companies are taking a hard look at the wasteful techniques of land and water management. Some have decided it’s time to grow up. Literally.
Vertical-farming, indoor-farming, artificial-farming. These are all terms describing the move from outdoor agriculture to indoor. Traditional farming isn’t going anywhere, many crops either wouldn’t be cost effective or just simply cannot be grown indoors. However, new technologies have allowed for many different crops, particularly water-intensive leafy greens, to be grown in climate controlled indoor facilities.
One of the biggest benefits to this method of agriculture is a reduction in land use and habitat destruction. Because the farming is being done in a controlled indoor setting, these indoor farms can be built almost anywhere, without the need to clear forest or other habitat. Some of them are in major cities like the Sunquiao District in Shanghai, Gotham Greens in New York, and The DakAkker in Rotterdam.
The best part? Indoor-agriculture can reduce water usage by up to 80%.
Remember eutrophication? Advances in hardware/software used in the industry allow vertical farmers to be extremely precise with nutrient levels, letting them to cut off feeding at the perfect time. This allows the plants to absorb all the nutrients, leaving behind water that could potentially be reused for future grows, or other applications like cultivating algae for biofuel.
Indoor-farming as an industry is far from perfect. Energy use can be extremely intensive and start up costs are high. The grows also require intense attention to detail and daily monitoring. But, this is an industry driven by technology. As we start to see more efficient alternative energy solutions begin to roll out, combined with improvements to automated systems with new software developments, the indoor-farmers will be able to reap massive benefits.
We are excited for the future of agriculture. We can’t wait to see how new technologies will be applied to the industry to raise the bar of nutrition and health worldwide.
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