Vertical farming has the serious potential to address areas of global agricultural and environmental need with a committed and innovative community driving its adoption.
Across the globe there are major challenges driving the need for a huge and urgent transformation in how we produce and distribute food. Populations are growing dramatically. It is predicted that the world population is expected to go from 7.6 billion today to 8.6 billion in2030, and 9.8 billion in 2050 (The World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision,published by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affair). It is imperative that we find ways to feed this population easily, sustainably and with quality produce.
The mass adoption of indoor farming will be fundamental to achieving this. Crops can be grown closer to the point of consumption and/or distribution, so reducing freight costs and food miles whilst increasing shelf life and removing the need for damaging interventions such as washing lettuce all of which combine to deliver a significant decrease in wastage.
By growing crops closer to the market in controlled vertical farming conditions, it is possible to accurately predict and grow to market demand, resulting in a reduction in food waste.
Plants grown in a vertical farming environment should be free of pesticides; free of diesel-powered vehicles; water should be constantly recycled and crops not washed in chlorinated water. It eliminates crop losses due to weather, disease, drought and pests. It means we can grow healthier, more nutritious foods at economically viable prices.
The controlled environment has the capacity to control quality, taste and flavour, and enable fresher produce with a longer shelf life. The environment helps alleviate crop losses due to weather, disease, drought, or pests.