How high can farming be vertically
Future food production with vertical farming is anticipated to take place both above and below our feet in urban areas. How far can it truly go, though?
In 2010, the Pasona Urban Farm opened in the nine-story building of a Japanese staffing firm, promising a future in which food would be grown just a few feet away from those who would consume it.
A rice field filled a large conference room, tomatoes dangled from.
While the idea of vertical farming as we know it today, where food is grown in trays or pipes layered on top of one another like a huge plant lasagna, dates back to the 1990s, it could be argued that farmers have been looking for ways to grow more in less space and with less soil for millennia. In order to fill narrow strips of land in allotments.
But modern vertical farming is already quickly taking off. One such is the New Jersey-based, vertically farmed strawberry business Oishii. In an upscale New York supermarket in 2021, a punnet of its highly sought-after Japanese Omakase strawberries sold for $50 (£44). Some saw this as proof that, over time, vertical farming could catch up to and eventually surpass.
A vertical farm isn’t exactly defined, although it commonly consists of shallow trays piled inside of a structure and illuminated by LED lighting on each level. Numerous vertical farms lack windows, and some of them are even subterranean.
These farms have to provide everything, including water, fertilisers, sunlight, and perhaps pollinators and pest control as well. Others might be constructed in enormous greenhouses to maximise.
While soil is occasionally utilised, more and more vertical farms are using hydroponic or aeroponic systems.
Crops may be able to flourish in places where conventional farming is not feasible thanks to technology.