Living in a dense city population can make you wonder, "where does our food come from?" When you live in urban areas like Houston, New York City, or Seattle, it's rare that you notice farms on your drive to work.
The idea that our food is grown hundreds to thousands of miles away can be worrisome. What if something were to happen to those farms? Our resources would cut off and we would have limited access to foods. This is why vertical farming in urban areas is critical to ensure cities can be sustainable food leaders.
What is vertical farming?
Vertical farming is the practice of growing crops/foods in vertically stacked layers. This is usually done indoors and in a controlled environment. This method optimizes plant growth and allows the use of soilless techniques such as hydroponics.
How does vertical farming work?
Vertical farming needs several things to work. We'll cover each one below:
Physical Layout - The purpose of farming indoors is to maximize volume. We do this by maximizing the output efficiency per square meter. This is why you will see physical layouts in the form of skyscrapers or vertical tower-like structures.
Lighting - To optimize crop growth, a need for artificial and natural lights are essential.
Growing Medium - There are several different growing mediums for vertical farming. These methods include hydroponics, aeroponics, and aquaponics. Coco Coir, Rockwool, ,Biostrate, Vericulite, Perlite, SunShine #4 and Black Gold are great mediums used in indoor farming.
Sustainability Features - Sustainable features often used with vertical farming feature rainwater tanks, wind turbines, and spaces with low energy costs.