With so much of the food industry looking for sustainable and responsible alternatives to traditional food production, vertical farming has gotten a lot of attention. This unique method of production and growth allows farmers to produce crops in any climate and requires far less water use than traditional methods of growth. However, the question has been raised if this type of farming is truly sustainable, or is it a promising concept in greenwashed clothing – and if so, how can it truly make an impactful difference on the global food supply?
Today, we’re diving into the sustainability of vertical farming and exploring the implications of a well-constructed vertical farming structure on the macro-level food supply and production process.
Is Vertical Farming Sustainable?
Vertical farming is considered to be sustainable and is currently the preferred alternative to other methods of green farming and food production.
Below, we’ve listed a few of the most impactful ways that vertical farming provides sustainable food production options to the global food supply:
1. Vertical farming is a faster method of food production
Growing high-quality food items and produce is a process that can’t be rushed. However, Green Magazine has found that these types of methods are approximately three times more efficient than regular farming strategies, producing food at a higher rate while using up to 95 percent less water throughout the growth cycle. This is tremendously beneficial as vertical farming scales to be a global food production “norm,” and will have resounding effects on our natural resources and sustainability efforts.
2. Vertical farming is easier to manage
No growth business is easy to manage – but vertical farming offers a range of benefits and an easier “starting point” than traditional growth methods, making the investment of time and resources holistically worthwhile.
If you’re looking for a way to scale and better manage your vertical farming business, we recommend investing in a high-quality cloud ERP that can seamlessly integrate your financial, human resource management, operational, and customer service-related functions under a single, unified system.
3. Vertical farming preserves land and soil quality
Soil quality has become an increasingly important concern when it comes to global food supply management. Years of reckless farming and environmental strain have led to suboptimal, strained soil that may not be as efficient for food growth and production. However, vertical farming provides a valuable alternative, preserving your soil quality and taking up far less of a spatial (and carbon) footprint.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has found that an acre of land that is covered with vertical farm infrastructure offers the equivalent yield and impact as a fully-processed six-acre land parcel, but with just a fraction of the resources used over the lifecycle of the products.
How could vertical farming impact the global food supply chain?
To determine if the investment into vertical farming resources and assets is truly worth it, we have to look at the global implications of a fully-integrated and developed vertical farming system – while accounting for the resources needed at each step in the development process.
Below are just a few of the benefits of vertical farming for both small and large-scale producers, referenced in the context of global food production.
Less fossil fuel utilization
Vertical farming requires less fossil fuel utilization at every stage of production. You won’t need tractors covering miles of land per day – resulting in smaller fleets of vehicles, less fuel used, and more efficient ways of maintaining the footprint.
Increased soil preservation and higher soil quality
Traditional farming methods would intentionally disrupt the soil to get the richest possible blend, at one point resulting in higher quality and quantity of yield. However, it would result in soil quality erosion over time, and erosion itself – causing lasting damage and biodiversity loss. Vertical farming provides an effective alternative, preserving the long-term profitability of farmers and their land.
Less need for chemical pest mitigation
As consumers become more aware of what’s in their food, many farms have stepped away from using commercial pesticides and chemicals. However, taking this step can result in unpredictability of yield, as pests can overtake the crops. With vertical farming, you can reap the benefits of minimal or no chemical exposure to your crops, while still keeping pests at bay – as your products will be developing in a controlled, closed environment.
You’ll be able to better cater to the needs of your modern-day consumers, preserve the integrity and quality of the crop, and incur less overhead expenses related to chemical agents and harmful pest poisons.
Options to increase energy and water efficiency
While vertical farming does require an initial draw of water and electricity, farmers have the option to continue to refine and optimize their growing systems, installing renewable and responsible technology as they continue to grow and scale
Vertical farming is sustainable and scalable
Are you looking for a new way to scale your produce farming business? Consider connecting with the team at Inecta today. Our specialists have continued to lead the industry with over 20 years of innovation, providing growers with the technical support and infrastructure they need to grow and scale their business.
Experience the difference and book an intro call today! Please visit our website, or give us a call at 800.632.0573.