What is Indoor Vertical Farming?
Take your traditional fields and crops and shift them 90 degrees. Today’s revolutionary farming methods save space and resources.
Our relationship to food has undoubtedly changed from our agricultural farming days, where we lived off the land and interacted with our food daily in a close-up and personal way. Nowadays, the majority of us have no agricultural ties or connections to our sources of food. In densely populated cities, many have not even had exposure to the traditional acres of farmland space required to grow crops. Not only that, but the global population is expanding, and at the same time, the earth is heating up. Vertical farming in cities comes to change the way we interact with food, bringing it back closer to home.
Food Grown Far Away and Transported to You
It’s a known fact that in most western cities, the majority of the food consumed has been trucked, shipped, or flown from far away. For instance, when we think we’re eating fresh greens, we’re actually not; produce from “fresh” sections of your local supermarkets most likely have traveled many miles from across another state or even coast-to-coast. In fact, according to the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, the average food item in the United States travels 1,500 miles to reach its plate!
This reality is unhealthy and unsustainable since food transport reduces freshness and nutricion, and releases greenhouse gas emissions from refrigeration, gas, and food loss. The local food movement, therefore, has gained incredible momentum as a solution to these woes. And vertical farming is playing an increasingly more important and popular role in the shape of the local food economy- bringing fresher food all the way to the consumer.
Today, vertical farming technology allows anyone- absolutely anyone- to grow local food sources within just a few days and bring fresh produce to the mass-market at supermarkets’ doorsteps. It doesn’t mean you must go and study agriculture before adopting this methodology. You don’t have to be a farmer or agronomist to try your hand at growing plants vertically.
What is Vertical Farming?
Vertical farming allows you to plant and grow your crops vertically, either stacked in layers or directly on a wall, instead of the traditional, horizontal way across acres of fields. You might apply vertical farming methods within a shipping container, on a rooftop, or in a climate-controlled unit in almost any indoor space.
There are a few different systems developed for vertical farming:
- Hydroponic vertical farming is a method using water to provide nutrients to the plants.
- Geoponic or soil-based vertical farming embraces the real soil as a natural barrier by keeping plants in their original environment in order to create optimal growing conditions.
- Aeroponic is an approach that operates on air or mist without soil.
The Benefits of Vertical Farming
- Uses 90% less water than traditional farming
- The capability to grow and harvest any crop almost anywhere because you can control the climate conditions
- Zero pesticides
- Modular, expandable, moveable
- Fresher, longer shelf life
- Consistent product supply without seasonality constraints
- Easy to operate – no professional agricultural expertise is required
Vertical Farming Solutions
Grown indoors in a geoponic (soil-based) platform, indoor vertical farming requires less natural resources and saves space in tight urban spaces. It uses less soil and water. In fact, indoor vertical farming uses 90% less water than traditional field farming. When compared to traditional farming, geoponic farming saves as much as 20 days’ from seeding to harvest, taking fewer days to grow, maintain and harvest vertical crops over a plant cycle.
Vertical farming is convenient and attractive, especially vis-a-vis traditional farming:
- You don’t physically get worn out from the daily realities of traditional farming, for instance there’ no breaking your back in the hot sun while tending to crops.
- No running out in all kinds of weather to cover your fields.
- Save yourself from operating heavy machinery to seed, harvest and collect the greens.
- No weeds!
You can control everything ‒ even the weather ‒ in one place, on a platform on a wall! Plus, you can do it all in a few paces on the floor, and if needed, on a ladder.
Commercial Vertical Farming
Commercial vertical farming can help feed people in places where they potentially would not otherwise have access, as long as there are viable sources of water and light. For geoponic solutions, it’s very easy to grow food for the masses without any agricultural training. You could put up a vertical farm or container farm in the parking lot of any grocery store or restaurant chain. Then, reap the benefits: save more money on trucks and fuel than you’d spend on facilities and power to grow your own food.
Find Your Green Thumb via Urban Vertical Farming
As we experience less predictable weather conditions due to global climate change, vertical farming systems and container growing allow for a consistent environment regardless of what’s going on outside. In fact, it’s predicted by experts in the agricultural industry that vertical farms will increasingly grow our green produce both domestically and across the world.