Growing food in population centres would increase yields, cut transport costs and overcome limited land area
Populations are growing and cities are booming – but could we soon see skyscrapers turned into centres for crop production? From Chicago warehouses to the south pole growth chamber in Antarctica, the concept of growing food indoors is catching on. Plant scientist Dr Erik Murchie, from the University of Nottingham, reveals how agriculture could be turned on its head.
What is vertical farming? It’s vertical because you are trying to grow more crops on a smaller land area and this usually means going upwards into buildings. It normally means that, instead of having a single layer of crops over a large land area, you have stacks of crops going upwards. It’s also associated with city farming and urban farming.
Why do we need it? It is the need to increase crop yield without increasing the land area for crops. If we can move some of that away from the countryside into the city, and get some of that food production close to the high concentrations of population, then we can make a real impact. People want to do it as well – it puts the food supply in the control of people living in the cities.
How high are we talking – skyscrapers? The beauty of vertical farming is that you can go as high as you want – if you have a system that works efficiently. The only risk with that is getting things that plants need like water and nutrients up there. And you need a way of getting your product out efficiently. (via Vertical farming explained: how cities could be food producers of the future | Science | The Observer)