Vertical farming startups claim they can grow hundreds of times more produce -- usually leafy greens -- per unit area than a traditional open-field farm, while cutting water use by 95% or more. And they can maintain production year-round, with no worries about crop-destroying pests and thus no pesticides, while the plants get exactly the water and nutrients they need. Driving all this is a level of automation that separates the farms, also called plant factories, from typical greenhouses. Dr. Joel Cuello, UArizona professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering and BIO5 member says vertical farming is not a panacea for addressing the challenge of meeting the world's prodigiously growing food demand, but a vital component of innovations toward more sustainable farming methods.
Sustainable Vertical Farming Offers Food For Thought In A Changing World