Updated: Mar 13
Vertical farming is on the rise and so are microgreens. As Despommier states on his website, "it’s estimated that by around 2050, roughly 80 percent of the world’s population will reside in urban city centers, with the population of the world ballooning by an additional 3 billion people over that time." That's a massive amount of people in an urban setting. This has paved the way for vertical farming to spring more over the past few years because of the buzz around it and the innovation that goes along with this grow technique.
Vertical farms eliminate many of the impracticalities and inefficiencies in traditional farming. They are more widely applicable as a technology, too, and have the potential to change the production of food around the world.
Vertical farms reduce the land and water used to produce crops by adding another dimension to the layout of the farm. Water cascades from top to bottom, essentially recycling itself. Furthermore, vertical farms decrease the waste of resources and space because crops are grown in controlled conditions, eliminating the threat of weather patterns (such as droughts) and reducing the distance that produce is transported by growing it within urban regions.
With the implementation of vertical farms, the endless fields of farmland that many of us in the Midwest are familiar with would return to nature. Ideally, the pasture land would be eliminated too with a shift toward veganism, since factory farms and the excessive breeding of animals contribute to global warming.
Vertical farms can accommodate crops that are normally specific to a certain region of the world and can grow crops yearly, even when those crops would be out of season. Insects are not an issue, either, because the crops in vertical farms are in controlled setting.
Although this all sounds great in theory, there are obstacles in urban farming due to it's infancy. A lot of vertical farming is often used for microgreens or sprouts but, if it were to grow grain based vegetables or fruits it would use a lot of electricity and land. Especially if you were wanting to produce on a mass scale. Biologist Stan Cox says, "that to be truly effective, vertical farms would require an incredible amount of floors pace." He also goes on to point out floor space requirement for growing just vegetables — happens to clock in at roughly 1.6 percent of cultivated land in the U.S. This doesn't sound like much but it's has the relative floor space of around 105,000 Empire State Buildings.
Urban farming is definitely the way of the future but it will have to overcome it's difficulties if it to replace rural farming. I'd say it's a challenge that us growers are willing to take.
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