Vertical farming is a way of growing crops in beds stacked vertically inside a controlled enclosure. This is done usually without soil or natural light. This opens up possibilities in stark contrast to traditional outdoor farming.
All over the world, croplands face degradation and agricultural runoff causes major pollution in the oceans. Outdoor farming is known to also consumes about 70% of the world’s freshwater. On the other hand, innovative vertical farms use a very small amount of water for production. They produce no runoffs and can reduce the pressure on arable lands. However, these vertical farms have had to deal with many challenges in its development. Innovators and many forward-thinking entrepreneurs are working on making it a useful technology today.
AeroFarms is one of the companies making notable progress in this space. Applying some proprietary aeroponics technology, they grow crops stacked on trays outfitted with lighting and sensors that track the growing process. This produces delicious, nutritious leafy greens and herbs without sunlight, soil, or pesticides.
Our crops get the perfect amount of moisture and nutrients misted directly onto their roots in a completely controlled environment. With our patented technology, we take indoor vertical farming to a new level of precision and productivity – AeroFarms
- They use aeroponics to mist the roots of the greens with nutrients, water, and oxygen. According to their site, the aeroponic system is a closed loop system, using 95% less water than field farming, 40% less than hydroponics, and zero pesticides. They also use smart engineered lighting systems. This creates a specific light recipe for each plant in the most energy-efficient way possible.
- Smart data and nutrients monitoring is also a key part of their system. Their plant scientists monitor more than 130,000 data points every harvest. They monitor all of the macro and micro-nutrients required by the plants. This is to ensure they are provided with everything they need to thrive. Predictive analytics are also used in constantly reviewing the system. With remote monitoring and controls in place, the capacity for timely intervention is greatly enhanced.
- Improved overall control and Scalability. Every aspect of the production process is designed to mitigate pests and contamination. They have a patented, reusable cloth medium for seeding, germinating, growing, and harvesting. This cloth can be fully sanitized after harvest and reseeded with no risk of contamination. The size and configuration of an AeroFarms System can be customized. This allows for application and quick installation in varied locations no matter the space.
Aero Farms reports their innovative vertical farm systems are about 130 times more productive than field farming. With over 250 different types of herbs and greens growing on trays stacked 30 feet high, they operate some of the largest indoor vertical farming systems in the world. This highly controlled agriculture system gives them an edge in delivering every aspect of the color, texture, nutrition and most importantly, the flavor of their greens.
Vertical farms are one of many solutions and innovations expected to mitigate a future of unpredictable climate and population pressure. Like every technology frontier, improvements and new ways of thinking are always in the works. Some other companies noted in this space include:
EdenWorks is an American company that operates aquaponic ecosystems that use 95% less water than conventional farms, no pesticides, and generate zero runoff. They grow delicious leafy greens and fish inside cities – the fish generate manure which is naturally broken down by a microbiome of soil bacteria into the nutrients that their vegetables need. The vegetables filter the water as they grow.
FreightFarms produces insulated containers that have a complete hydroponic growing system with all the components needed for commercial food production. Built entirely inside a 40’ x 8’ x 9.5’ shipping container, freight farms are outfitted with all the tools needed for high-volume, consistent harvests. With innovative climate technology and growing equipment, the perfect environment is achievable 365 days a year, regardless of geographic location.
Podponics are a tech company that concentrates on precision cultivation of fresh produce tightly focused on optimization of yield and input costs. According to their site, they were founded in 2010 as PodPonics and then reorganized in 2016 under Agrinamics, the company has emerged as one of the most respected hydroponic farms in the world.
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