Food and Drink International - Winter 2016 Volume 1 - 9

vertical farming

W

When is the last time you tasted real food? Most of the produce on the shelves today is genetically modified, doused in
chemicals and basically dead by the time we get it home - there
are little to no nutrients left. Imagine leafy greens and strawberries that are pure, untouched by chemicals and delivered to
your grocery store or local restaurant a mere hour after being
harvested. The taste is said to be amazing, and best of all the
produce is still alive.
Vertical farming is a way of producing food in vertically stacked layers
using controlled-environment agriculture technology. These high-tech
farms are built in buildings in (sub)
urban areas and grow vegetables
hydroponically or aeroponically. Hydroponics is a method of growing

plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water and without soil. Aeorponics is the process of growing
plants in an air or mist environment
also without soil. Vertical farming is
a way to bring fresh, local products
to grocery stores and restaurants in
urban environments.

Dickson Despommier, microbiologist and ecologist, and emeritus
professor of microbiology and public health at Columbia University,
is known as the "father" of vertical
farming. "I have established the vertical farm as a theoretical construct
to look at the possibility of agricultural sustainability within cities," he
writes on BigThink.com. "The idea
grew out of a class project to measure the effects of rooftop gardening
in New York City on reducing the
dome of heat that develops over us
each year. From that original idea,
I expanded the concept to include
urban agriculture and finally to
multi-story indoor farming."
The vertical farm concept is about
maximizing the plant density to allow
people in urban environments to access healthy, fresh vegetables yearround that are free from herbicides
and pesticides. "If you Google vertical farming, you see artist renderings of superstructures that look like
they are 200 years in the future. They
have fruit-bearing trees, rows of corn
and root vegetables growing in them,
which makes people think this is vertical farming," says Andrew Blume,
North American regional manager at
the Association for Vertical Farming.
"At least here in 2016, that's not
the case," he continues. "It isn't practical to grow commodity crops like
corn in a building nor does it make
economic sense to grow fruit-bearing trees inside. What businesses
are really able to grow right now
in indoor farms is limited to microgreens and leafy greens. Tomatoes,

food & drink international * winter 2016 volume 1 * www.fooddrink-magazine.com

9


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food and Drink International - Winter 2016 Volume 1

Contents
Food and Drink International - Winter 2016 Volume 1 - Cover1
Food and Drink International - Winter 2016 Volume 1 - Cover2
Food and Drink International - Winter 2016 Volume 1 - 1
Food and Drink International - Winter 2016 Volume 1 - Contents
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