As the global population continues to grow, the demand for fresh produce is increasing. To meet this need, many are looking towards new food production methods such as vertical farming. But what exactly is vertical farming, and how can it help us?
What is vertical farming?
Vertical farming is a type of agriculture that uses artificial vertical structures for the growth of crops. This technology utilizes hydroponic systems, LED lighting, and automated watering and nutrient delivery mechanisms. It creates an environment optimized for growing plants in vertically stacked layers. The technology has been around for over a decade but has only recently become more mainstream.
The role of vertical farming in meeting future demand
- Potential to increase global food production
Vertical farms can produce large quantities of high-quality produce in a fraction of the space traditional farms require. Therefore, they can help bring fresh, locally-sourced produce to areas that may have been previously underserved by traditional agriculture. What’s more, vertical farms are able to circumvent certain environmental challenges, as they are not exposed to weather-related hazards such as droughts and floods.
- Reduced environmental impact
These farms are powerable by renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power, reducing their dependence on fossil fuels. Secondly, the controlled environment within a vertical farm makes water recycling and reuse more efficient than in traditional agriculture. Vertical farms are also able to take advantage of natural pest control methods such as beneficial insects and fungi, thus eliminating the need for toxic chemical pesticides.
- Improved food security and accessibility
Vertical farms can help grow a variety of crops in small, localized areas, allowing for greater access to fresh produce in regions where traditional agriculture may not be possible due to limited space or staffing shortages.
- Potential to reduce dependence on traditional agriculture
This technology offers the potential to reduce our reliance on traditional agricultural techniques. This is because vertical farms are able to produce large quantities of fresh produce with minimal resources and staffing requirements. This allows them to operate more efficiently than traditional farms. Also, vertical farms can operate year-round and in locations closer to urban areas. This can reduce transportation costs and emissions associated with traditional agriculture.
Vertical farming has the potential to revolutionize global agricultural production. It can allow for increased food production in limited spaces, improved environmental sustainability, resources conservation, better food security and accessibility, and reduced staffing shortages and dependence on traditional agriculture. Thus, it is a promising solution to many of the challenges facing global food production.