What Is Vertical Farming? Everything You Should Know About This Innovation

It’s no secret that the future of agriculture is concerning and needs a change. Overall, the population is growing at about 1 percent per year, even faster in some countries. Feeding this growing population is sure to be a challenge as time progresses. 

Adding to the problem, current and former agricultural practices are incredibly harmful to the planet. Agriculture has been implicated as a driving cause of climate change, deforestation, and soil degradation. The problem is so significant that we’ve over the past 40 years.

We must find better ways of producing food for future generations. Fortunately, new farming technology, such as vertical agriculture, offers an excellent way to meet these challenges and produce the food needed for future generations.

Large plantation with green seedlings of fresh lettuce growing in hothouse

What is Vertical Farming?

Vertical farming is exactly what it sounds like: farming on vertical surfaces rather than traditional, horizontal agriculture. By using vertically stacked layers, farmers can produce much more food on the same amount of land (or even less).

Often these layers are integrated into buildings such as skyscrapers, housed in warehouses or shipping containers, greenhouses (like ours), or placed in spaces that would otherwise be unfit for farming.

Yet vertical farming is much more than just stacking plants and hoping for the best. The practice requires artificial temperature, light, water, and humidity control. If a delicate balance is not maintained, it’s possible to lose an entire crop the way a traditional farm might in the event of a drought or flood.

The History of Vertical Farming

It’s easy to think of vertical farming as a new concept, especially considering the high-tech vertical farming companies emerging today. But the ideas behind the practice go back millennia. The first example of vertical farming known today is that of the Babylonian Hanging Gardens around 2,500 years ago.

Even hydroponic farming is not entirely new. Around a thousand years ago, the Aztecs developed a version of this practice, called chinampas, by growing their plants on rafts floating above rivers and lakes. 

A more technologically advanced form of vertical farming popped up in the 1600s. French and Dutch farmers developed ways to grow warmer-climate fruits against stone walls that retained heat, creating their own microclimates.

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