Vertical farming is growing by leaps and bounds. Quite simply, the concept “has gone viral,” said Dr. Dickson Despommier, a professor at Columbia University. And Despommier should know. After all, he’s credited with conceiving the concept, back in 1999, during an especially spirited Medical Ecology course.
“Indoor farming includes all indoor farms, including vertical farms, and it also includes greenhouses. The only difference between a vertical farm and a greenhouse is height because you can’t just set greenhouses on top of each other.
“The country that’s really got the most vertical farming facilities is Japan. Japan now has hundreds of vertical farms throughout the country, and they’re doing quite well. Taiwan has about 150, last I heard. Singapore has countrywide demand for locally produced food. The United States has a fair number, I would say in the neighborhood of 100, to 150."
“I think the next issue will be, how can we franchise ourselves into a complete grocery store. And I know companies that are already doing that, so that’s in the wings. And, I think in another 5 years you’re going to see a versatility of crop selection that will force everything else into the competition, and therefore [vertical farming] will succeed. That’s in the next 5 to 10 years.”