Vertical Farming, a solution for the climate crisis?
According to the WWF, the worldwide fund for nature, it is estimated that agriculture could provide up to 30% of the needed climate crisis solutions by 2030. This is a bold statement that would need something innovative to make it a reality. No longer are the traditional forms of agriculture going to cut it in this current world climate which is driving towards sustainability. If the WWF predictions are to ring true by the year 2030, something in the agriculture world needs to change. Few organisations are really digging deep into the possibility of making agriculture more environmentally friendly, but the ones that are, will surely make a positive change.
Now more sustainable and viable than ever
One such potential innovation is in the development of vertical farming. Vertical farms are, in their essence, farms that grow vertically rather than horizontally. These farms have been developed over many years, but it is only in recent times that they have really become something sustainable and viable on a grand scale. This method of growing food and medicines vertically means that more space on the ground can be utilised for other things. It also gives the opportunity for produce to be grown indoors, using new farming techniques such as controlled-environment agriculture (CEA). This means that many unpredictable environmental occurrences can be controlled for and even mitigated. These farms behave much like greenhouses do, in the way that they use artificial light, control temperatures and some use software that can make sure all plants receive the same nutrients across the board.
Aerofarms as headliner in the growing movement
One notable company which has been vertical farming for years, could be one of the few headliners in the growing movement of vertical farms. The company, called AeroFarms, is based in Newark New Jersey, and have been in the business of indoor vertical farming since 2004. Their technology allows them to build their farms in cities, using old abandoned warehouses and skyscrapers. This means that not only does the company help keep produce fresh and nourished without the use of pesticides that can harm the environment, but they also use less transport carriers, which is another huge advantage to the environment. In recent news, AeroFarms have managed to raise 100 million USD (89m EUR) in funding for their expansion and growth into new plants and future technologies.
Possibility of integrating the Internet of Things
Back in Europe, and the Scottish company Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS) have raised 5.4 million GBP (6m EUR) in a series of funding. Intelligent Solutions was founded in 2013 and utilises considerably more advanced technology than their US counterparts. This Scottish company have integrated the Internet of Things (IoT) into their management and production cycles. They have stated that their electrical, electronic and mechanical technologies give them a whopping 225% bigger yield than in regular greenhouses.
In a nutshell, this growing sector of agriculture is a clearly sustainable and scalable business model. The way that the world is evolving, and the ever increasing population alongside an urgent need for more food, means that this kind of innovation is exactly what we need.