Vertical farming has created a flurry of excitement in the farming and production sector, offering new innovation in the field that could lead to a more streamlined, and economically responsible process to help meet the needs of global consumers. Vertical farming also offers a more sophisticated food production method in the face of climate change, which farmers and members of the industry have been battling for years. In this article, we explore what vertical farming is, the added benefits, and the impact that this growing method could have at a global level.
What is vertical farming and how can you benefit?
Vertical farming is a unique and new method of food production that streamlines the production process - by a lot! Traditional methods of farming are what you’re already familiar with - relying on a horizontal planting structure and traditionally tilled and harvested using specific machinery. Vertical farming is defined in its very name and allows the addition of food production stacks in places where you wouldn’t normally consider them. These can include any location, ranging from the roof of a Manhattan apartment complex to a group of stacks in a farm plot.
Vertical farming is considered the farming of the future. This will cause new research and innovation to be focused on new and consistent farming methods using this space-efficient measure.
For many, ERP software can be a strong asset in streamlining the vertical farming process and can assist farmers with remote monitoring capabilities as well as integrations to save countless hours and thousands of dollars.
Despite the added versatility and space saved, certain factors should be considered for the most consistent and productive farming experience, including humidity, temperature, ambient and direct lighting, among others.
Benefits of vertical farming
Vertical farming is a complex method of growth that can yield a variety of benefits to every stakeholder involved - from consumer to farmer. Below, we’ve compiled a list of the top benefits that vertical farming has introduced to the food production industry, and how you can benefit from using vertical farming techniques in your own business.
Automate your farming processes
Vertical farming is often done indoors, where more of the elements can be tailored to each plant. When you choose to adopt vertical farming processes, you unlock new opportunities to automate your systems and make your overall function more efficient.
For example, many vertical farming structures have their own hydroponics system, which you can tailor and invest in to ensure that it is pre-set and automated to keep the plant at an optimal level of hydration and growth.
Automation in vertical farming can occur in many ways. Vertical farming offers the benefit of full control throughout the growing process, and many farmers choose to automate the fertilization, hydroponic, and lighting conditions to save as much time as possible.
You can also choose automatic lighting and humidity processes as well, keeping your sections of the greenhouse in the perfect settings for ideal growth. While the initial investment is inevitable, it can be far more cost-effective than farming in the long run, as you have total control of the setting and growing system.
No pests, less risks
Traditional farming has the inevitable risks to worker safety and crop damage due to external elements - such as weather and pest control. While there are available damage control factors on the market, you will often run the risk of compromising the quality of the food produced.
Vertical farming helps provide an alternative option that helps the grower retain control of the setting that the food is produced in. This allows for more versatility and greater methods of production. You are no longer limited by plant weather and season preference, and you can mitigate the risk of pest damage almost entirely.
For this reason alone, vertical farming is extremely helpful and can be a worthwhile investment. Traditional methods can present additional obstacles to fulfilling the needs of the supply chain, which can be overcome with a diverse planting strategy and several vertical gardens.
Cost-efficient for the greater good
Food disparities are widespread throughout all areas of the United States, and prevent individuals from getting the nourishment that they need to live healthful lives. Vertical farming techniques provide a unique opportunity to assist, as they are space-efficient and run (nearly) independently, allowing for a variety of nutritious and delicious food to be grown at any given time.
If vertical farming were available via kits to the masses, this could provide time and cost-efficient ways to encourage healthful eating in underserved areas. As it currently stands, the theories and framework that vertical farming provides allow for a baseline understanding - to a point where people can simply create their own stacked gardens and include humidity management and hydroponic system to encourage growth.
Less water used over time
Vertical farming isn’t just compact and efficient - it’s actually far more ecologically friendly than traditional farming methods. This is largely due to the fact that traditional farming methods use an excess of water to cover and nourish a full farmer’s field. Large-scale hydroponic systems for farms are expensive, and this presents an additional barrier to entry.
In contrast, vertical farming allows farmers to create hydroponic solutions that save gallons per growth cycle - and betters the earth as a result.
Vertical farming also offers the ability for farmers to automate the hydroponic systems and have a far greater level of detail orientation when it comes to altering systems and optimizing growth conditions. This can save thousands of dollars per month, and provide greater crop yield overall.
An additional ecological impact that farming brings is the disruption of local wildlife and ecology. Tilling, pesticides, and other common tools used in the industry can inhibit and entirely prevent local ecology from cohabiting in the environment. Vertical farming is largely controlled and creates little to no environmental impact that other traditional methods bring. Pest population is controlled thanks to inclusive measures that farmers can use throughout the process of set up and execution, and there is no in-ground activity, as all planting and growing is contained in the vertical structure.
Vertical farming is the future of food production
Vertical farming is truly the farming of the future. With the countless dollars and crops saved, this innovation is changing the global supply and production chain for the better. Vertical farming offers less ecological impact, and higher rates of return on investment for farmers, consumers, and other stakeholders. It could also help enact change at a global scale for those in food deserts, bringing the goal of healthy life to fruition for countless global citizens.