Vertical Farming

As the world’s population is projected to grow, feeding people becomes one of the major challenges. However, arable lands are rapidly decreasing due to industrial development and urbanization. Vertical farming can be a way to solve the challenge, since it does not grow vegetables and other foods in a field or a greenhouse. It produces food vertically on structures like skyscrapers and shipping containers. Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) technology controls temperature, light, humidity, and gases artificially. The technology allows us to maximize crop production through metal reflectors and artificial lighting instead of solely relying on natural sunlight. 

How does the technology work?

Crops are cultivated in stacked layers in a vertical structure, and artificial light keeps the perfect light level in the room. Specialised technologies like rotating beds are also used to enhance the efficiency of the light as well as meeting the different crop requirements. Instead of using soil, vertical farming uses three different models. First of all, hydroponics allows crops to grow with the nutrient-rich water basin. It sustainably recirculates water to reduce water consumption. Drip irrigation, Nutrient film techniques, and deep water culture are used in the method. Second of all, aeroponic farming sprays crops with a nutrient-based mist. It does not require typical agricultural essentials such as soil, sunlight, or water, but it uses a periodic timer. This method allows plants to receive nutrients directly, and crops are easily harvested. Third of all, aquaponics cultivates fish and plants at the same time. It is a closed-loop food production system that provides nutrients and beneficial bacteria, and plants produce clean water for the fish. These productive methods also allow them to conserve water. 

Sustainability issues

Rainwater tanks, wind turbines, and multipurpose certainly offset energy costs in vertical farming. While it maximizes crop production, it consumes less water than conventional farming practice. In addition, it does not necessarily need the use of pesticides and herbicides that damages the environment. Since fresh food are sourced locally, it decreased the need of shipping. 

What You Should Know About vertical farming, Rick Leblanc,12/17/2020

https://www.thebalancesmb.com/what-you-should-know-about-vertical-farming-4144786

A Beginner’s Guide to Vertical Farming, Claudia Beck 12/28/2017

https://ecowarriorprincess.net/2017/11/a-beginners-guide-to-vertical-farming/

Stakeholders: 

  • All citizens of the planet
  • Government, local governments that wants to cut water consumption as well as reducing Co2 emission less than open field agriculture
  • Farmers who hopes to enhance their crop yields
  • Cities that heavily reliant on imported food

Steps for deploying the technology

Implementation of the technology varies based on the size. For larger-scale vertical farming that is capable of producing sufficient food for communities, investing in existing vertical farms or raising capital to build are the one of the options. Funding on research and development, renovation, waste integration system, and marketing campaigns are required for the success of the technology. In order to implement the technology, farm managers need to own a building or rent for a long term. Hydroponics systems are often required to maintain the desired indoor climate all year round. 

Byungchul Jeon/ Uni:bj2446

2 thoughts on “Vertical Farming

  1. Thanks for the post on a great topic. My assumption is in a controlled environment as the technology matures, it should be more efficient in terms of yield/energy use, likely good for environment overall. I do have my doubts though that vertical farming is a solution for a potential food shortage problem in the foreseeable future. Most population growth is in poor countries in Asia and Africa and the cost and organization required to sustain this tech are probably beyond what can be supported. Improving yield on current farming can generate benefits faster.

    Reading your post, I could not get rid of a nightmarish image: humans have destroyed nature and out of desolation we are forced to live in artificial bubbles…

    Like

  2. This is such a great topic to write about, thanks for sharing this!

    Vertical farming is a really interesting technological solution. Being able to produce high volumes of food in urban areas, eliminating many of the transportation and waste costs associated with typical food supply feels like a really important change to our urban systems. However, my main concern that the article discussed is the cost – in building it, in pollinating crops, and in the labor costs to manage them. These are all really significant costs to an industry that I don’t believe has a ton of flexibility when it comes to prices. I foresee these costs being fairly prohibitive to broad implementation in their current state.

    Like

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