29 Sep Vertical Farming: Growing Plants Without Sun & Soil
How do you mass-produce leafy greens without sunlight, soil and lots of water? The answer: vertical farming.
Indoor-farming innovators, AeroFarms, have mastered the best way to grow plants with minimal inputs. They mass-produce leafy greens in buildings throughout America by using fully controlled indoor environments. The results of these vertical farms are:
- shorter harvest periods
- higher food safety
- guaranteed results
- reduced food miles
- fresh produce available all year
- minimal environmental impacts.
How does vertical farming work?
The plants are grown on a cloth made out of recycled plastic. This can be reused after thorough sanitising. Under the cloth is a mist solution, which contains optimal levels of nutrients, oxygen and water. This mist solution makes direct contact with the plants’ roots. The perfect mist solution is created by plant scientists. They monitor 30,000 data points per harvest, and make adjustments as needed during the growing period.
LED lighting placed above the plants is used to control photosynthesis. The lighting also allows vertical farmers to optimise plant characteristics such as colour, flavour and size.
The benefits of vertical farming
Vertical farming requires just 5 per cent of the water that standard field-farming needs. Vertical farms do not need chemical pest control. Plants grow twice as fast, and are available all year round. Per square foot, vertical farms yield 75 times more food than traditional farms. AeroFarms predict that the largest vertical farm currently being built will produce more than 90 million kg of leafy greens each year.
In addition to this, AeroFarms have designed their vertical farms to be completely customisable. This means the farms can easily be built in major distribution centres. This reduces food miles.
See it for yourself
Watch the YouTube video below produced by Seeker. It explores Vertical Farms’ fascinating New Jersey project, which has repurposed an old laser tag arena.