Vertical farming has become one of the buzzwords for a new type of modern farming, but is vertical farming the boon to feeding the world that it claims? Is vertical farming economically viable? A lot of these answers are still up in the air because the concept is so new, and what we call 'vertical farms' can be so variable.
Vertical farming is in its infancy. Ten years ago, vertical farms successfully grew many types of leafy green vegetables like lettuce, spinach, and arugula. Just as in home gardens, fruiting crops like tomatoes, squash, and raspberries were more difficult to grow. There is some discussion in academic circles whether crops grown in vertical farms aimed at feeding the world should be the higher-value horticultural crops or staple crops like multiple crops of wheat but with 70- to 80-day turnovers.
In vertical farms, all the inputs (light, water, fertilizer) must be supplied to the plants rather than taking them for free from Mother Nature. Once a vertical farm is installed, these previously free inputs are considered operating costs.
Vertical farming has a future, but that future remains to be seen.
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