By 2050 the global population is expected to reach nine billion, the world’s current food systems and agricultural technologies may not be enough to feed the world. Combine population growth with climate change and global water shortages, the outcome may have the potential to cause wars over food shortages, and the lack of food security for both developed and under developed countries.
Biodiversity and sustainable agriculture, maybe the key to long term solutions for feeding the world. One viable technology that is starting to show promise is vertical farming. Vertical farms range from small indoor farms within peoples own garages or bedrooms to the world’s largest vertical farm based in New Jersey.
Vertical Farms may even be found in your local supermarket one day or at least in Berlin supermarkets. The Kräutergarten (‘herb garden’) uses hydroponic principles to grow plants out of nutrient-rich water.
Even the military are looking into using vertical farm technology on Navy submarines to ensure their crew have fresh fruits and vegetables on long hauls.
Vertical farms hydroponically grow plants using a nutrient solution instead of soil, often Sphagnum peat moss or coconut coir plugs. They use 70% less water than traditional agricultural practices, effectually use space, have high yields that are not reliant on seasons and reduce the usage of pesticides in the environment.
Energy efficient LED lights are used to save energy as all vertical farms require 24hr energy for their grow lights a necessary element to the growing process. Many vertical farms, especially industrial sized farms are using solar, wind, or biofuels as their net energy producers to ensure sustainable energy consumption.
In the world’s fastest growing urban areas vertical farming is being taken in to consideration by urban planners and policymakers as a viable solution to enhance urban food security and make more productive use of our urban spaces.
Investors interested in sustainable agriculture or new technologies that are socially and environmentally sustainable are looking at vertical farming as a viable investment. Though vertical farming has an infinitesimally small share of the existing agriculture market in the U.S., and as an emerging industry there will be struggles or failure, investors must do their due diligence.