Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash

Guide to Vertical Farming

7. Sep. 2023

Why Vertical Farming is the Future of Agriculture

We live in times of contrast.  While a large part of humanity has hardly anything to eat due to poverty and failing harvests, the rest lives in absolute abundance. In Europe, approximately 179Kg of food per capita is thrown away every year. That is almost one third of the annual food consumption of an average citizen.
This cries out for a revolution in our current eating habits.

In our globalized world, it will be difficult to deprive citizens accustomed to abundance of the year-round availability of fresh fruits and vegetables. And the demand for healthy food that is produced and grown in a fair and environmentally responsible way is growing year by year. Nevertheless, the supply of food must keep pace with population growth.

If you want to take care of your own fresh fruits and vegetables, here you will find the indoor greenhouse of our choice.**

That is precisely why an alternative must be found. An alternative that enables us to grow fresh fruit and vegetables all year round in every climate zone without having to accept long transport distances. Along with this, food waste must also be greatly reduced. We go into this in more detail in our article on Planetary Health. Vertical farming is a concept that could represent this alternative.

But what is Vertical Farming?

Vertical farming is a way of growing fruits and vegetables, in which the plants are grown outside their natural environment, in nutrient solution (hydroponics) or optimized soil medium. The sun is replaced by LED lamps, with the light spectrum optimally adapted for each plant. And vertical because this is (often) done in stacked shelf systems. For example, in a large city a high-rise building can be built, which is used exclusively for vertical farming. However, such a system can also be built on a smaller scale, such as in a shipping container, a garage, or even a living room. Due to the simple structures, such a setup can be duplicated and customized without any problems.

So in vertical farming, nothing really works without the right nutrient. With this fertilizer, you make your plants shine.**

(Photo by Harits Mustya Pratama on Unsplash)

Old Idea, New Technology?

The idea of farming vertically instead of horizontally is by no means new. Scientists were already working on this concept in the 1960s. At that time, however, research was not yet advanced enough to determine or recreate the specific conditions of the respective plants.

Just over 10 years ago, this concept was revisited as major food crises emerged in many developing countries in 2007 and 2008. In 2009, VertiCrop™ launched the first complete system.

In addition to a secure harvest that can be productive regardless of prevailing weather conditions, a mature vertical farming concept offers many other benefits:

Because every aspect/developmental step of the crop can be precisely controlled, you increase yield. Seasonal crops can grow and produce fruit throughout the year. At the same time, one reduces the use of unsustainable cooling systems and shortens transportation distances. The almost completely closed loop nature of this system means that much of the residue or soil used can be recycled and reused. With the methane produced by the compost, a biogas plant can even provide part of the electricity supply. In addition, a good vertical farming system saves about 80 of the water consumption, compared to conventional agriculture, which is much more sustainable.

Despite the many benefits of vertical farming, expansion is slow. In many places, there are still too many reservations about automating agriculture to this extent. Over the next few years, these concerns will hopefully diminish, so that in the future we can produce fresh fruits and vegetables in the city for the city.
Of course we will keep you informed about news here.

** The links to sources of supply are affiliate links: If you buy through them, you are actively supporting, as we will then receive a small portion of the sales proceeds. Thank you very much! :-)


Tillmann Stickler

Wort-Jongleur mit dem Anspruch euch wissenschaftlich fundierte, aber verständliche Artikel über den Planeten Erde, Landwirtschaft und Ernährung zu präsentieren.