That abandoned parking lot just down the road has the potential to be pumping out hydroponic lettuce. It's not out of the realm of possibility according to a report into the potential for high-tech growing solutions in Australia. Commissioned by Hort Innovation, and developed by agricultural consultancy RMCG in partnership with University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and global urban agriculture consultancy Agritecture, the Opportunities for High Technology Horticulture in Australia report considers effective urban farming applications being utilized overseas, in the Australian context.
The report analyzed the types of high-technology farming operations that could work in Australia. It has made a number of recommendations to improve the feasibility of the approach, such as capacity building for producers and improving social acceptance through community engagement.
Urban farms have begun to pop up in places throughout Australia, including Modular Farms Co in Brisbane, Eden Towers in Perth and Vertical Farm Systems on the Sunshine Coast. Hort Innovation research and development manager Dr Vino Rajandran said high-technology urban farming is an emerging part of the horticulture sector in Australia. He said, despite low adoption of these new high-technology production systems in Australia compared to Asia, North America and Europe, there is increasing interest.
"As Australia's climate becomes increasingly variable, the consumer demand for locally-grown produce increases and sustainable production comes to the fore, technology-controlled local production systems are attracting more interest," he said.
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