The Farming Social Hub - a voice for the farming community

Farming method on the up

Vertical farming has become a serious talking point in recent years as the important of food security becomes ever more apparent.

Indoor farming has seen a flurry of recent investment across the globe and around $1.8 billion has flowed into the sector since 2014, according to data group Dealroom.

So just what is vertical farming?

As explained in online farming new site FarmignUK, Vertical farming is the process of growing plants indoors under controlled conditions in a series of stacked layers. Rather than using sunlight, like in a glasshouse, many of these urban farms are reliant on LED light which is adjusted dependent on the growth stage and crop type.

Techniques such as soil free growing are typically used in vertical farms, whilst chemical treatments are rarely applied because of the tightly controlled conditions, with lighting, irrigation, fertigation, and climate all being precisely adjusted.

Enthusiasts of the practise envisage locally grown produce which can be consumed within the community it is produced, solving traceability issues, slashing food miles, and reducing our reliance on food imports.

It is also thought that it could help to combat some of the industries difficulties with pollution and water use.

Stacked production systems allow food to be produced in a confined space meaning it can be produced close to where it is needed.

This is why vertical farming is primarily suited to higher value fresh crops such as salad leaves and herbs.

There have recently been a number of standout developments, including the construction of Europe’s largest vertical farm in Denmark and plans to build the world’s biggest indoor farm in Abu Dhabi.

Advocates believe the sector holds the future for food production, citing the advantages of short supply chains and concentrated production.

Others, however, say it is inefficient, suffering from high running costs and relatively small-scale production.

While the future of vertical farming is unclear, it is certainly a development worth keeping an eye on.

Pic credit: Photo by Markus Spiskeon Unsplash