Vertical farms, also known as controlled environment agriculture (CEA), have been cited as a potential solution to the issue of feeding an ever-increasing global population. But what crops can be grown in vertical farms?
Here we look at some of the most common crops grown in vertical farms and what the future might hold.
#Crop 1: Leafy greens
The most common crop grown in vertical farms is leafy greens. Research has shown that leafy greens take more than 30% of the market revenue share among overall crops. Why is this? Well, on top of the year-round demand for salad greens, they are also quick-growing crops that are relatively reliable.
Common leafy green crops include:
- Collard greens
When growing leafy greens outside, the issues faced include that they are very tempting to pests such as slugs, which means a need for increased use of pesticides. Growing them inside a vertical farm removes the need for pesticides, and they can therefore be grown organically.
Growing leafy greens in a controlled environment also allows superior-flavoured crops to be raised, as you can give the crops exactly what they need – in terms of food, light and water.
#Crop 2: Herbs
Herbs are another popular crop choice for vertical farms for many of the same reasons as leafy greens. They are also fast-growing, meaning the time between sowing the seeds and harvesting the crops is short, so more crops can be grown annually.
Common herbs grown in vertical farm herbs include:
Herbs like basil do well when grown indoors as they need relatively high temperatures, so growing them outdoors in the UK isn’t an option.
#Crop 3: Soft fruit
Soft fruit also needs high temperatures, similar to herbs, so the growing season in the UK is relatively short. This means that a lot of soft fruit is imported from abroad – which isn’t the most sustainable option.
There is plenty of demand for soft fruit all year round, which makes it a viable option for vertical farming. It is also liable to spoil quickly, making it even more suitable for growing locally rather than importing it from abroad.
#Crop 4: Flowers
Many flowers bought in the UK have been grown abroad and imported. From a sustainability point of view, this can add to CO2 emissions, so growing flowers in vertical farms and selling them locally is a way to reduce this. Only a few vertical farms grow flowers, but we expect them to become a more popular crop in the future.
Our Gelponics technology is made from sustainable low-carbon products that do not use environmentally harmful synthetic polymers. If you choose to use Gelponics in your vertical farm, you will significantly reduce your carbon footprint and contribute towards sustainable global farming.
Please get in touch with us to learn more about Gelponics technology and how it can help you save water, control fertiliser, and reduce complexity in your vertical farming efforts.