Vertical farms nailed tiny salads. Now they need to feed the world

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Vertical farms nailed tiny salads. Now they need to feed the world

Sean Williams

Quote:Vertical farms take up a vanishing amount of land compared to their conventional cousins. They use almost no water, don’t flush contaminating pesticides into the ecosystem, and can be built where people actually live. But, by and large, they have not functioned as businesses. Only the black-market margins of weed, and Japan’s high-income, high-import food ecosystem, have catered to profit. It costs hundreds of thousands of pounds to erect a mid-sized vertical farm, and energy use is prohibitively high.

Advances in technology are changing this...

Quote:Recent discoveries have been more surprising. Strawberries, for example, react particularly well to green light. Some spectra can increase the vitamin C in concentrated fruits like kiwis, while others extend shelf-lives by almost a week. In the future, says Fei Jia, of LED firm Heliospectra, growers “can get feedback from the lighting and the plants themselves on how the lighting should be applied… to further improve the consistency of the crop quality.”
“If you judge it from what you have today, you understand what [critics] are saying,” Guy Galonska says. “How can you grow rice and wheat and save the world? And they are right. But they can’t see ten years ahead: they can’t see all the different trends that are going to support that revolution.”

Other technological advances are helping agriculture in different ways. Drones and sensors help map and streamline growing. Drip irrigation dramatically reduces the burden on dwindling water supplies. Circular production – where waste products from one process contribute to fuelling another – is becoming more commonplace, especially in livestock farming. Cell-grown or insect-based meat (or vegetarianism) will reduce our reliance on livestock, which consume 45 per cent of the planet’s crops. Infarm, and the broader vertical farm cohort, may not be saving the world today. But it wants to build taller farms, place them in public buildings like schools, and teach people the value of fresh, healthy vegetables. If 70 per cent of us are to live in cities, then cities “can become these communities of growing,” says Erez Galonska.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell

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Here's a downloadable PDF from Chalmers University in Gothenburg.
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  • Sciborg_S_Patel
ICA Focus in Frölunda, here in Gothenburg has a vertical farm.  I am thinking of seeing if there are any jobs going.  I have a Gardening Skills certificate from TWIGS from when I was doing therapeutic voluntary work there during my 15 year depression.  I think I would enjoy that in my last tired years before I retire.
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