In a world of increasing food insecurity, experts are eagerly looking for the best way to feed the expanding population. Why not look up?
Published On February 16, 2018
Even if you cannot pinpoint a specific location, your finger would most likely not point in the direction of a towering skyscraper in your city’s business district, a decidedly bizarre place for the growth of vegetables. However, what if it was argued that growing crops in tall city buildings is not only conceivable, but is a superior way to produce our food? Although it may not sound possible, food production of this type does exist thanks to something called vertical farming.
What is a Vertical Farm?
In simple terms, a vertical farm refers to a place, generally an empty skyscraper, warehouse or shipping container, where food is grown without natural light or soil. Generally, vertical farms compensate for some outdoor conditions using something called hydroponics. Hydroponics allow for growth by providing plants with the nutrients they need through a water solvent, instead of through soil. In a vertical farm, carefully controlled artificial light mimics the role of the sun and factors such as temperature and humidity are also tightly supervised. It’s a complex operation, but proponents of vertical farming argue that the vertical farm’s worth becomes clear when its societal and environmental impacts are assessed.