From the outside, it may look just like your regular office building. But inside, the future of farming takes place. Fruits, vegetables, and herbs are produced in layers and layers stacked above each other, known as vertical farming.
These office buildings are emerging across Europe, and are particularly suited for growing crops in urban areas where space is scarce. Producers promise nutritious, pesticide-free, high-quality crops. It may even help ensure food security in countries less conditioned for conventional farming. But while the first crops are already in stores in some countries, there are still some years before the European food market is overtaken with products from vertical farms.
What is vertical farming?
Indoors farming where crops are stacked vertically.
What are the most popular techniques of vertical farming?
Hydroponic farming – Plants are grown in a nutrient solution, usually water with fertilizers, and a growth medium instead of soil.
Aeroponic farming – Instead of soil, plants are grown in the air by regularly spraying a nutrient-rich mist to the roots.
Aquaponic farming – Combines aquaculture and hydroponic farming.
Why is vertical farming so desirable?
undefinedYou can grow enough food for thousands of people on a small surface area.
Plants are grown in a controlled environment that can be installed everywhere. For example, arctic countries could grow strawberries and tomatoes during cold, dark winters.
The plants are less dependent on unpredictable weather conditions such as drought or floods.
Is it as nutritious as real farming?
Food grown in vertical farms could be of a higher quality and contain more nutrients than crops grown in the traditional way.
What can be produced vertically?
undefinedAnything in theory. Today, most companies focus on leafy greens, herbs, and microgreens, and many look into growing strawberries and tomatoes as well.