In large warehouse, plants are stacked layer up layer of each other and growing under magenta toned lights. Vertical farming, a term coined because of the layers of crops stacked upon each other, is a method that will change the future of farming. Preventing fossil fuel pollution, saving water and conserving energy are just a few of the benefits vertical farming beholds. The modern technology created for vertical farming allows farming to occur practically anywhere. Soon, farming will be in urban settings such as San Francisco.
Vertical farming yields more crops per square meter compared to traditional farming lots. Greenhouses fall short of saving water and still runs the risk contamination. Vertical farming’s micromanaged techniques allow the crops experience summer weather every day.
The controlled environment allows for rapid growing and anticipated nutrient content. Urban farmers are setting up shop in abandoned warehouses and old factories in urban settings. Urban farming is a solution for the food crisis that is eligible to occur this century. The world’s is already overpopulated and it continues to grow. Food supply will be running low within the next fifty years. Traditional farms do not have the capacity to feed a human population of 10 billion, which is the estimated census in the year 2050. Eighty-percent of the future population will reside in cities.
The best way for cities to supply food is to manufacture within their city. The first vertical farm opened in 1999 and since then, many small unit spaces have been home to crops that share the same square footage as a farm in places like Iowa. Skeptics believe vertical farming is a waste of money. Why spend so much money on warehouses, energy and light when the sun is cost free? Surprisingly, vertical farming is cheap. Urban farms like SkyGreens, out of Singapore, spends $3 a month per each tower of vertical farms. This means a tower multiple tiers that take up more square units than a conventional farm are receiving the best treatment as any outdoors farm.
As mentioned earlier, vertical farming depends on only a small amount of water. The sprayed on greens gets recycled and filtered, then returned to watering plants. Recycling filtered water with ultraviolet lights reduce the possibility of spreading disease. Since they are being grown in cities instead of being imported, no pesticides or hormones are being used, giving customers fresh and organic produce. Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are the light medium used for vertical farming and is a profitable secret weapon. The blue and red wavelengths are the sources needed for photosynthesis. LEDs use less power consumption than other lights, allowing for the farms to be eminently sustainable. Because of reduced heat in the LEDs, plants are able to grow closer to the light source, enabling more plants to grow.
Urban farming has been most successful with growing leafy greens such as lettuce, basil, arugula, kale and spinach. Less mainstream, but still common, are potatoes, rice, carrots, wheat, strawberries, pepper and radishes. Tobacco is the newest addition to vertical farming. Used for drugs and vaccines, the tobacco farms are grown in closed facilities shut off from contamination and disease. Most cities are overcrowded and they will not be getting any roomier.
The earlier cities incorporate vertical farms into their city, the better off they will be in fifty years. Vertical farming is the future and we, as a nation and a world, need to prepare accordingly.