The global population is expected to grow faster than we can feed it within the next 30 years. Due to the lack of available water and land, we will need to feed about 10 billion people with less than adequate food supplies. This is why we must develop new and innovative ways to improve the food quality we provide for the world’s growing population.
Agriculture is the oldest industry in the world. It’s also the most adaptable, which means it can adapt to environmental changes. If we can look at the practices of humanity’s ancestors, we might develop new ways to improve the food system.
Vertical Farming Now
Instead of horizontal rows, vertical farming involves crops grown on top of each other. This method of farming allows for more space conservation and higher crop yields. This type of farming is commonly done indoors, in a warehouse. These farms are commonly referred to as “stacks.” These types of farms can control the environment to improve their success.
One of the biggest advantages of vertical farming is that it allows for more space. This farming method can increase productivity by allowing more plants to grow up to the same amount of land.
Vertical Farming in the Future
Although it might seem like an extravagant method of farming, there’s reason to believe that indoor farming is a promising alternative to traditional agriculture.
The advantages of vertical farming are numerous, such as allowing farmers to produce more crops and reduce their transportation costs. It also helps them locate their operations closer to their consumers.
Around 70% of the world’s freshwater supply is covered by water, but only around 1% is easily accessible. Because of this, agriculture consumes over 70% of the freshwater available globally. With vertical farms, farmers can provide crops with a precise amount of water that’s designed to nourish their plants. The water can be continuously reused in an irrigation system, which helps save water.
Over the past 40 years, the Earth has lost around 30% of its arable land due to various damaging practices. These include pollution and urban encroachment, which can lead to poor soil health and erosion. Through vertical farming, we can transform industrial spaces into smart indoor farms that can be used year-round.
In the U.S., over a billion pounds of pesticides are used annually to control pests and diseases. This can impact soil health and ecosystems. Vertical farming allows farmers to grow produce without using harmful chemicals.
The global food supply chain is vulnerable to economic and environmental crises. These events, such as COVID-19, have highlighted the vulnerability of our food system. Vertical farms can provide customers with a consistent and secure supply of fresh food.
Leafy greens have been involved in over 40 multi-state E.coli outbreaks since 2006. Most of these incidents were caused by the contamination of irrigation water coming from livestock operations. Tracing the source of these outbreaks can be difficult due to how the greens are mixed at processing plants.
Not only does an indoor environment offer safety from pathogens, but it also allows producers to control the entire process of the crops’ journey from seed to store. A fully traceable and simplified supply chain helps prevent food-borne illness outbreaks.
Despite the advantages of indoor farming, it’s still not enough to feed the world’s growing population. To ensure that the food system is resilient and sustainable, both traditional and indoor growers need to work together.