Veronika Spangler's articles

  1. Energy and Environment
  2. Land
  3. Planet
  4. Tech

What is vertical farming? Indoor agriculture (like greenhouses) using vertical space to optimize crop production in a controlled environment

Pros

  • Minimized pests and pesticides
  • Greater precision and control over water and nutrients, less waste
  • More food produced per acre of land, more sustainable for our planet in the long run
  • Reduced distribution supply chains delivering fresher produce to customers at greater speed

Cons

  • Higher costs
  • Deep know-how and expertise required 
  • Limited number of crops can be grown profitably (leafy greens vs. strawberries that require more sunlight and thus more electricity)

Why vertical farming? The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted food supply chains around the world. The shift to remote work increased office space vacancies... creating an opportunity to redesign spaces. Now is a good time to rethink ways to feed a growing population, especially in urban cities. We need to better adapt to supply and demand shocks.

A touch on Big Tech Algorithmic or machine-learning solutions are applied to the biggest challenge in agriculture: optimization. Artificial intelligence (AI) helps minimize food waste by figuring out the right amount of energy, water, and nutrients required to produce food. 

Bottom line With increased pressure on supply chains around the globe, rethinking traditional farming and redirecting efforts toward vertical farming (and AI) will address food security challenges and reduce waste in the future.

Dig deeper → 4 min

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