The agricultural community has a vision. Farm upwards. The constant growth of the world’s population and the ever- increasing degree of urbanization has the agricultural community rethinking innovative cultivation. So, are high-rise beds are future? Aeroponic technology certainly makes it easier and it is becoming more popular, especially among urban restaurant owners and city dwellers.
Not only has vertical farming become more economical for restaurant owners, like Fowler and Wells, but they can cultivate a healthier product, and there’s less wait time. Why wait for deliveries when a chef can walk up to a rooftop and pick fresh herbs and vegetables?
By 2050, the United Nations estimates that two-thirds of the population will live in cities, and we’re already bursting at the seams. Cultivation areas are becoming increasingly scarce, thus the concept of “farming up” is much more promising.
The significant difference in utilizing aeroponic technology is that you can farm vertical as opposed to horizontal, which helps with limited space, and this can all be accomplished without soil. Many organizations have become a mass-aero farming company, and one such firm is located right outside of New York City. The AeroFarms company, a New Jersey international firm, is the largest vertical indoor farm in the world.
AeroFarms relies on an aeroponic anchoring method where dozens of fields are stacked on top of each other, and according to the company, they consume a mere 10% of the water used in traditional agriculture. To accomplish this, the seeds are sprinkled on permeable microfleece cloths stacked on top of each other in container modules. Through several tubes, the seeds are exposed to oxygen and a nutrient-enriched mist, forming a thin membrane on which the seeds germinate. Instead of using sunlight, the plants operate their photosynthesis using LED lamps.
Since the plants inside the farm are cultivated within a closed system and thus are not exposed to external influences, no pesticides or artificial fertilizers are used. Water and nutrients are recycled within the cultivation system.
Aeroponic farms are increasingly popping up. In Jackson, Wyoming, an old car park was recently converted into a vertical farm, and in Singapore, a commercial vertical farm produces around a ton of fresh vegetables every day. Currently, Goldman Sachs is investing $ 39 million in an aeroponics farming project in Newark, said to become the largest vertical farm in the world.
Overall, instead of traditional farming, which has become controversial in itself, vertical farming promises more space and richer harvests, and it’s already a reality.