How to feed 10 Billion people

Aug 30, 2020

With global population set to exceed 10 billion people by 2050, the challenge of providing enough food for everyone in a sustainable, efficient and economical way is rising insignificance. Shedding the restrictions of seasonal weather patterns, overcoming transportation challenges, and significantly enhancing yields, the growing trend of vertical farming could herald the future of food production.

While modern techniques have enabled traditional farming to achieve enhanced production rates, more than 11 percent of the world’s total land area is now used for crop production, creating environmental challenges that range from habitat clearing to soil degradation. Adding to these challenges is a changing climate that is disrupting seasonal weather patterns.

One potential solution is the growing trend of vertical farming; a concept that sees the sprawling crop farms of old condensed into much smaller factory-like sites where conditions can be optimized and yields significantly increased. Facilities like AeroFarms in New Jersey produce crops in an enclosed environment where everything from the lighting and ambient temperature to soil nutrients are carefully controlled.

The facilities use extensive vertical racking to optimize space and produce food much closer to urban areas. Geography aside, the creation of controlled conditions delivers many benefits. For starters, crop production is insulated from seasonal weather patterns that are highly susceptible to disruption as a result of our changing climate. On a vertical farm, lighting, water and temperature can be optimized to remove climatic risks and enhance production rates. As a result, sites such as MIRAI’s facilities near Tokyo, the world’s largest city, are able to generate yields 50 times to 100 times greater than traditional farms. The use of a controlled environment also eliminates losses from birds and insects, cutting the need for harmful pesticides.

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Articles authored by Igor Perepelychnyy