The current global food supply chain is worrying, we are struggling to find the land needed in order to meet the world's demand for food as much what we consume requires high levels of water & land in order to be produced. This challenge is only going to grow as it is predicted that by 2050 the global population of the earth will be 9.7 billion, a staggering 1.9 billion more people. This 23% increase in the earth's population will cause an increase in demand for food that we will need to satisfy, how we go about this is crucial. Do we continue to decimate the Amazon so that we can grow more crops to feed cattle? Do we increase fishing in the oceans? Well Vertical farms are proposing another solution to this.
Vertical farming is a new way of growing crops. Currently we need a lot of land to grow crops, fruits & vegetables, accompanying this the climate is also a crucial factor in making certain areas of the world even viable to grow anything at all. Vertical farms are what I imagine a super futuristic greenhouse could look like in the future, except they are already real. They are optimised by the use of specialist lighting and temperature regulators to allow crops to grow even in the harshest of environments. Importantly, not only does this method of farming have the benefit of using less land but it also uses less water, which we know in many areas of the world is a very sparse resource & must be managed efficiently.
The precision systems this farming technique uses, has proven on a number of occasions that this method of farming can be hundreds of times more efficient than our current practices. One of my favourite examples of vertical farming can be found in California, USA. This particular farm is ran by a business called Plenty. During 2020 this vertical farm was 2-acres in size however it actually produced more food than a traditional 720-acre flat farm. During the study it was also found that it used 99% less land and 95% less water when compared with the exact same yield. The electricity required to run the farm is also from a combination of solar and wind so it's entirely ran on renewable energy sources.