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What is Vertical Farming

Rows of hydroponically grown basil in Pure Greens container farm.

If you’ve heard the term, but aren’t familiar with it or even if you have some idea and are interested in vertical farming, you may not know what exactly the term means.

In this article, we are going to explain what vertical farming is, why it’s a growing interest and trend, and why 2020 is a great year at starting your own vertical farm!

What is 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 grown in popularity, with the market projected to grow worldwide from $3.16 billion dollars in 2018 to $22.07 billion in 2026. Global population continues to increase, creating a greater demand for food; this has been one of the main factors towards vertical farming, as well as a growing demand for more locally sourced and grown produce and crop.

Now that you know what vertical farming is, let’s look at some reasons why you might want to consider starting your own vertical farm.

10 Reasons to Start Vertical Farming

1. Grow a wide variety of crops

Vertical farming allows for crops and produce to grow naturally, regards of location or season!

Because vertical farms are enclosed environments, you can grow a variety of crops without concerns for soil conditions or hazardous weather patterns.

2. Eat healthier!

Human obesity has tripled worldwide since 1975, with more than 1.9 billion adults over the age of 18 being overweight; 39% of adults were overweight in 2016, with 13% being categorized as obese.

Vertical farming can help provide you and your family fresher, more nutritious, and safer foods. It also means that you’re eating more readily available vegetables, leafy greens, and microgreens.

And if you share your crops, such as selling them at your local farmers market, you’re also helping your community eat healthier as well!

Fresh Local Lettuce
Fresh local lettuce

3. Save water

Vertical farming uses less water than traditional farming techniques. 80% of the US’ entire water usage is done by traditional farms – a normal head of lettuce uses 3.5 gallons of water!

Depending on the CEA, you could save between 70 and 90% of water consumption, which helps to conserve water usage.

4. Help your community and provide jobs

When you start a vertical farm, you’re starting a local business. You can sell your crops and produce to customers through farmers markets, local restaurants, or even local grocery stores who are looking to add fresh local produce to their selections.

And as your vertical farm business grows, you’ll also need helpers, which can then help provide employment to your community as well.

A Pure Greens expert grower
Pure Greens expert grower

5. Join the local food movement

Local food initiatives look to bring food producers and consumers together, to help improve local economies, gain better health objectives, and education.

With a vertical farm, you become a member of the local food movement in your community and can help promote and advocate for healthier living, sustainability, and more self-reliant and resilient food networks.

6. Save money!

Starting a business can be expensive, however it is also tax-deductible. That means you can write off a portion of the money you make on your vertical farm.

Even better, you can also get loans and grants to help you start your vertical farm business that can provide you with the equipment to get started!

7. Provide an endless source of food

We talked about how you can grow a variety of crops that help to provide healthier eating habits. This is especially important if you live in a food desert – which is an area where access to affordable, fresh, and nutritious food is limited or inaccessible.

Because vertical farming can be done anywhere indoors, it means you can help to provide easier access to food, especially fresh fruits and veggies, so that people in your community are able to purchase and receive that food.

8. Stay safe while farming

Did you know traditional farmers are usually exposed to hazards? They work around farming equipment that can be dangerous when in use, exposed to elements that can cause harm like weather, pesticides, and even pests.

Vertical farming helps to eliminate those causes and concerns.

9. Remote access

Technology has given offered many advantages to farming in general, one of them being the ability to view data and statistics about your farm through convenient smartphone or computer apps.

The same is true for vertical farming, in fact it’s a staple of the industry. CEA systems allow for quick checks of farm through a smartphone, which can also control the environment inside of the container, warehouse, or wherever you set up your farm.

Growlink app dashboard
Growlink app dashboard

10. Location, location, location

“Location, location, location.”

That’s a standard saying for real estate agents, when it comes to the value of a property which is based on location. And certainly, when people look for places to live, they look at a residence’s location to determine if the area meets their specifications.

While ensuring that your physical space for your vertical farm has all the necessary requirements for its operation, vertical farms can be set up just about anywhere. This is what makes them great, especially for areas that are food deserts.

Food deserts are all over the world and with the growth in population; there is a danger of these growing without proper access to fresh and affordable food.

In this article, we answered the question, what is vertical farming, looked at the market statistics, and discovered a few reasons why you should consider starting your own vertical farm. Vertical indoor farms can be created very easily and in many types of environments, such as a container.

If you’d like to see a vertical farm in action, come and check out our free tours! And if you’re interested in starting your own container farm business, we have a helpful guide to get you started!

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