With the increased focus on sustainability and the environment in recent years, vertical farming has increasingly been cited as the answer to challenges such as food shortages and resource depletion caused by overpopulation. So, what is vertical farming? How does it work?
In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about vertical farming., including:
- What vertical farming is and why it is important
- How vertical farming works
- The benefits of vertical farming
Read on to learn more about this solid sustainability method and where GelPonics fits into it.
What is vertical farming?
The Cambridge Dictionary defines vertical farming as: “the activity of growing crops in many layers, one above the other, inside a building or under the ground, often in a specially controlled environment.”
Agricultural crops are grown indoors under artificial conditions, where artificial lighting and temperature control can be fine-tuned for the best results possible. This differs from traditional farming, which is usually horizontal and where the results are entirely dependent on Mother Nature.
Vertical farming offers great benefits to the consumer as it vastly increases food accessibility, thanks to the fact that these farms can be located anywhere, offering more people the opportunity to grow their crops. Therefore, production not only moves closer to the consumer, but vertical farmers are also able to produce consistent crop volumes and value all year round.
How does vertical farming work?
Vertical farms use soil-free growing techniques, such as hydroponics, aquaponics and aeroponics. Crops are stacked in specially designed beds and trays to use artificial lighting and climate control best to get the desired results.
The two most commonly used types of growth substrates in vertical farming at the moment are peat and stone wool. However, peat is due to be banned by 2030, and Stone Wall has a very high carbon footprint. This is why we developed the GelPonic formulation – our unique solution based on an eco-friendly, biodegradable and sustainable gel. Our gel contains a graphene-based sensor that allows the release of nutrients for the optimal growth of plants.
What benefits does vertical farming offer?
We firmly believe that vertical farming with gelponic growth substrate has a huge role to play in the future of global food production, thanks to the following:
- Vertical farming uses 95% less water than outdoor farms
- No use of pesticides or chemicals leads to a better, healthier and safer crop
- Uses less space to grow more food
- Less chance of being eaten by insects and animals
- Water and nutrients can be measured out exactly, so nothing is wasted
- Fewer crop losses lead to reliable year-round crop production
- Exotic fruit and veg can be grown anywhere, so there’s no need to be farming in suitable climates and then transport (reduces carbon footprint)
- Less habitat destruction thanks to the fact that vertical farms can be designed and built in any climate or location
To learn more about GelPonics technology and how it can help optimise crop resilience, cut operational expenditure and improve the sustainability of food production, please get in touch.