Vertical Farming Promises Greater and Better Access to Fresh Local Produce

They’re established in Seattle, Baltimore, Brooklyn, and other cities around the USA. They can provide consumers with locally grown produce. And they carry on business in former factories, arenas, and spare bedrooms. The vertical farm is a concept that needs just a few breaks in order to become a major player in the food industry.
A recent article in the New York Times reviewed the status quo of the vertical farm and the challenges it faces as it moves into the future (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/30/business/smallbusiness/growing-greens-in-the-spare-room-as-vertical-farm-start-ups-flourish.html?_r=0&mtrref=query.nytimes.com&gwh=B4F953F014E1A18FBCD74E4F9D5ED565&gwt=pay). The vertical farmer requires no soil, sunlight, or plow to produce a crop of greens. Instead, crops come to maturity in vertically stacked trays, irrigated with water or mist that has been enriched with nutrients and requiring no pesticides. Without sunlight, photosynthesis takes place through the use of LED lighting. Under such circumstances, crops can be brought quickly to maturity.
With consumer demand for locally grown produce increasing at a significant rate per annum, start-ups in the vertical farming style of agriculture have been enjoying considerably more interest and support from investors than ever before. The concept is an excellent one. Vertical farms can produce as much as 20 times as much food per square foot as can conventional field farming.
The major problem faced by vertical farmers is the cost of energy. Electricity is the major expense, required mainly for the LED lighting systems but also to run pumps and fans. Technological development of LED lighting should, however, lead to greater efficiency in the near future.

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