According to the UN, about 55% of the current global population resides in cities or urban centres. Conservative estimates indicate that this number will increase to almost 70% by 2050, in tandem with an increased global population that is expected to reach nearly 10 billion people in the same time frame. As cities and populations expand, the demand for food production will increase along with them.
New York City, for example, is a city of 8 million people, and according to Dickson Despommier, instructor in Public Health at Columbia University, it takes a landmass the size of Virginia to produce enough food to feed a population of that size.
As our cities sprawl and our footprint continues to expand, how do we make room for all this food production, and where will we find the space to grow it? We need to look outside traditional farming to solve this challenge and one option that provides a more ecologically balanced solution is vertical farming.
What is vertical farming?
Vertical Farms are climate controlled environments that grow crops stacked vertically, with LED lights illuminating each layer. Vertical farmers will often incorporate automation and climate control technology into their facilities to manage temperature, humidity, and other important variables to optimize crop yields. Vertical farms allow for a huge amount of food production across a fraction of the space required for traditional farming.
Why is it beneficial?
Vertical farming in climate-controlled environments enables farmers to evade unpredictable weather, drought, outdoor pests, and seasonality. Stacking crops also means producers can expect more growth and production over a smaller real estate footprint.
Growing food in densely populated areas also dramatically decreases packaging and transportation costs, allowing growers to positively contribute to climate change challenges by growing food closer to home, rather than hauling it across thousands of kilometers. In turn, this allows consumers to access produce that’s been harvested at peak freshness, increasing nutritional value and shelf life.
How does it impact the environment?
Besides the obvious benefits of more locally grown produce, increased nutrition and freshness, lower transportation costs and positive climate impacts, another advantage of vertical farming is a dramatic decrease in the amount of water required to produce the crops. Indoor crops lose much less water to evaporation than outdoor agriculture, and water can be recycled and reused through the entire system. Some estimates see vertical farming using 90 to 95% less water than traditional farming, an incredible figure which will become more important as we work to increase the preservation of our water resources.
So how does this lead to increased sustainability?
Vertical farming has the opportunity to address many climate initiatives, most of all decreasing the amount of land and water required for food production and reducing transportation requirements and costs.
Vertical farming provides innovation at a time where our current agricultural practices will not be able to support the needs of future populations, or the environment. Vertical farming embraces cutting-edge LED and automation technologies that will create incredible energy and production efficiency, all while reducing the overall environmental impact.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can begin to implement vertical farming practices in your operation, contact us at 1-833-453-5323 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can walk you through our LED lighting and automation solutions for vertical farms.