The Vertical Farming Revolution Under Threat… And Why

HUFFPOST| According to Despommier’s theory, by as soon as 2050 the world will run short on land suitable for the amount of traditional farming that will be required to feed a growing population. Vertical farming, he argues, would make for more efficient use of the limited land. It also comes with a number of other benefits, including year-round crop production regardless of climate and a shorter distance between farms and consumers.

Further, all the produce grown in vertical farms is, due to the nature of its cultivation, organic and free of any chemicals, herbicides or pesticides — meaning that the food is both local and healthy.

The industry is growing so quickly, according to Maximilian Loessl, the Munich-based vice chair of the Association for Vertical Farming, that it can be difficult to keep track of where new vertical farm operations are being built.

Still, success is no guarantee. VertiCrop, a large vertical farm founded in 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, declared bankruptcy earlier this year. Harper points out that no farms have yet released data proving that their operations are profitable. None most likely are, he says — at least currently.

What’s holding many farms back is the struggle to simultaneously increase their yield-per-square-foot and decrease the cost of production — particularly the cost of powering round-the-clock lights, which is high.

Harper also questions whether consumers will embrace produce grown in such an unusual and unfamiliar way. “People are incredibly skeptical of science and technology in food and are scared of it,” Harper said. “How do we talk about that? Will people accept or understand it, and ultimately will they buy it?”

“Marketing becomes preeminent,” Zulauf told HuffPost. “Will people buy into it and what aura will they assign to that product? If that aura isn’t a good aura, it will be hard to get a premium price out of the product.”

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Brigitte Kayser — The Mind Awakened

Brigitte Kayser — The Mind Awakened

Metaphilosophy, metaphysics, economics, social & individual healing, AI, voluntaryism. Thought provoking without running around the bush.

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