Imagine a food future where your fruits and vegetables are easily accessible, gathered fresh on a daily basis, with seemingly no shortage. That concept is why farming is moving inside because it’s not a future premise, but a reality.
Known as indoor or vertical farming, this industry has been increasing in its outlook. In this article, we’ll discover why farming is moving inside, what it means for farming and agriculture presently and in the future, and the benefits of starting your own vertical farm.
What is Indoor/Vertical Farming?
Firstly, what is indoor or vertical farming?
Vertical farming, also known as indoor farming, is the practice and process of growing crops and produce in vertically stacked layers. Vertical farming uses controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) which optimizes plant growth by using soilless farming techniques such as hydroponics, aquaponics, and aeroponics.
Vertical farming has become very popular, thanks to increasing global populations, future food shortages, and health concerns. There is expected to be nearly 2 billion extra people in the global population by 2050, creating a growth of roughly 60% for our food supply.
With so many people coming into the world, the question of how to supply food is paramount. Added to this has also been the concerns on health, wellness, and foodborne illnesses.
The obesity rate has tripled worldwide since 1975, with a new report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stating that nearly 40% of American adults are obese, a 27% jump from 2016, when only 13% were considered obese.
Couple this with increasing incidents of foodborne illnesses – between 2017 and 2019, there were three separate incidences of E. coli tainted lettuce that made a number of people sick. The US imports 35% of our produce, which travels an average of 2,000 miles for about two weeks before it finally hits our local grocery store shelves.
These are just some of the reasons, why vertical farming has gained more attention and more research.
Why Farming is Moving Inside
As the above outlines, food concerns have motivated both consumers and scientists to look at other means of agriculture. Consumers especially are growing more and more interested in knowing where their food, especially produce and fruits, are coming from; grocery shoppers look for labels that indicate foods are locally grown or sources.
The increase of technology within farming has opened the door for more opportunity for growers and consumers.
Vertical farming has already shown many benefits that can be advantageous:
- Maximum crop yields
- Reduced labor costs
- Optimized energy/water conservation
Maximum crop yields
Vertical farms have the ability to produce more crops than the traditional farm.
This is due to the fact that produce and crops aren’t affected by conditions like weather, temperatures, and daylight. This allows for produce to grow fully and then be replaced without seasonal conditions.
Reduced labor costs
Labor has always been a pain point for many industries, but especially in agriculture, where there is currently a labor shortage.
By using automation, vertical farming is able to significantly reduce the cost of labor for harvesting, planting, and logistics.
Optimized energy and water conservation
One of the main benefits of vertical farming, is the ability to conserve both energy and water. Vertical farms use up to 70% less water and with sensor technology, data can help vertical farmers optimize light, temperature, and humidity.
Sustainability has grown in importance, with water and energy conservation, land conservation, and other environmentally issues. Indoor vertical farms take up less space than lands used by traditional farmers and are also easily available for areas that may not have accessible lands for farming.
Starting your own vertical farm
We looked at what vertical farming was and why farming is moving inside. Now, let’s look at how you can start your own vertical farm and the benefits of doing so.
Some of the benefits to start your own vertical farm include:
- Growing a variety of crops and produce
- Provide your family, friends, and community with healthier and nutritious foods
- Provide jobs for your community
- Avoid common farming dangers like chemical exposure, weather hazards, and more
We created a helpful beginning guide for vertical farming within a container, with sections to help navigate loans, container design, and selling your produce or crops.
In this article, we discovered why farming is moving inside and how vertical farming is becoming a growing field. If you’re considering vertical farming or container farming, send us a message through our contact form or give us a call at 602.753.3469.