When you imagine a farm, you're probably thinking lots of land in a rural area with patchwork rows of crops. That's how it has always been. But with more and more people moving to urban areas (an estimated 2/3 of the world's population by 2050) and the acreage of arable farmland shrinking each year, we need a new model for local and nutritionally rich produce, and fast. One solution? Vertical farming.
What Is Vertical Farming?
Vertical farms grow fresh produce year-round in an urban environment under controlled conditions, inside using UV lighting systems or outside. Instead of farming on a single level, like a field or a traditional hoophouse, plants are stacked in structures allowing farmers to make the most efficient use of the space. For example, if traditional farming required the space of a professional football field Copiana would only need the home team’s inzone to produce the same amount of food!
Growing up rather than out has become a great sustainable option for concrete jungles thanks to vertical farming projects converting typically nature-baren structures such as warehouses, office buildings, and the like into working farms. The first commercial vertical farm opened in Singapore in 2012, and since then, cities world-wide are considering proposals for vertical farms.
Copiana supplies our patented aeroponic technology to individuals, small businesses, and large farms all over the Atlanta area. We currently have 100 towers in service at various locations around the city, in addition to a 100-tower greenhouse on our property to further support our clients. Learn more about working with Copiana here.
How Is Vertical Farming Better?
Beyond repurposing abandoned urban space, vertical farming requires no soil and 95% less water than traditional farming, drastically reducing the crops' environmental impact. Crops are grown aeroponically or hydroponically where the nutrients are more readily available to the plant. This means that most produce reaches market size in half the time it takes traditional farms, which translates to twice the yield in the same time frame. Vertical farms are highly productive with a very small footprint. There is also more flexibility for what and when you can grow with LED lighting technology, allowing you to grow indoors all year round.
Vertical agriculture eliminates many problems of traditional farming. Crops aren't subject to bad weather, climate change, and most disease. Since soil is removed from the equation, insects or wild animals aren’t as prominent of a threat, allowing farmers to practice organic methods. Farms don't disrupt forests or natural areas, and farmers aren't exposed to dangerous machinery and chemicals. In extreme climates, vertical farming creates a temperate growing environment and makes a much wider range of produce accessible and more affordable.
The major impact of vertical agriculture is that it meets increasing food demands sustainably while decreasing environmental footprint. Bringing farms into urban areas dramatically shortens the distribution chain, reducing emissions and providing more people access to fresh, nutrient-packed fruits and vegetables.
Vertical farmers even have control over how their produce tastes and how nutritrient-rich it is. The taste of a plant is affected by everything it experiences during the growth process, so by optimizing its nutrient intake and eliminating sources of stress, you can grow a more flavorful, healthier product.
Growth of Vertical Farming in the U.S.
Boosted by tech investors and government research grants, vertical farming is growing rapidly in the United States. Produce grown by vertical farms can now be found in more than 20 supermarket chains and in most metropolitan areas.
Copiana’s patented aeroponic technology makes vertical farming more accessible than ever, both for large-scale farmers and private individuals. Our Ionic Mineral Solution is a no-waste plant food and hydration source that helps our plants grow big and strong, and keeps them nutrient-packed and delicious! And the best part? We do the work for you. Grow your own safe and nutritional food supply wherever you want.
With vertical farming technology still so new, there is exciting potential for sustainable, large-scale food production with minimal environmental impact. With enough research and consumer interest, vertical agriculture just might be the food solution of the future.