Vertical farming research predicts industry growth

©iStock/LouisHiemstra

The 2019 Global Vertical Farming research report suggests the industry is expected to flourish over the next decade.

Vertical farming is a new, innovative and sustainable urban farming method, whereby farms produce food that utilises all available indoor space, these farms are often situated near large towns and cities – meaning that food does not have to travel far to reach the consumer.

Vertical farmers incorporate growing systems into rooftop settings, onto the sides of commercial high rises; or into “farmscrapers”, maximising even more urban square footage without requiring real estate investment or changes to the growing process.

Vertical farming research and the future

According to the Market report, in 2018 the global vertical farming market was worth approximately $2.1 billion (€1.86 billion). Over the next 10 year time frame, the market is projected to grow by 25.7 per cent. Despite the projected growth in the industry, vertical farming is currently still in its infancy; with only one in three urban farmers able to make a profit from their harvest in 2016.

The increase in popularity of vertical farms comes after the news that innovators in the market are pledging to grow produce in ideal conditions indoors, without the use of pesticides; and with dramatically reduced amounts of water and energy. Additionally, environmentalists are keen to follow the idea of food being produced locally – potentially even in the buildings where consumers work – as it means that food products will travel shorter distances from their source; as well as retaining greater health benefits due to the reduced impact of travel on the nutritional values of food.

Urban farming is changing the way we think about food

According to vertical farming research at Arizona State University: “[if] fully implemented [globally], urban agriculture could produce as much as 180 million metric tons of food a year — perhaps 10% of the global output of legumes, roots and tubers, and vegetable crops.”

The introduction of innovative agricultural methods such as vertical farming is changing the way the world thinks about food. Further developments in agrifood will require significant levels of collaboration between industry bodies in order to boost production and consumption of sustainable and healthy foods.

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