The Pros and Cons of Vertical Farming

So I’ve thrown together a list of pros and cons for vertical farming. If you don’t know what vertical farming is, do a quick Google search. There are some interesting sites out there with some pretty cool vertical farming designs.

Take a look at these. If you have any pros or cons to add, hit up the comment section.

Upsides:

Year-round crops. No winter and no need to wait for the right growing season.

No weather issues. No crop failures due to droughts, floods, pests, etc.

Organic by default. No herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers needed.

Water-cycle neutral. No agricultural runoff. Black and grey water are recycled.

Smaller footprint. Less land is used. Existing horizontal farmland can be returned to its natural ecosystem.

Potential electrical generation. Methane from composting non-edible waste can be converted into electricity.

Reduced fossil fuel use. No diesel-burning tractors. Less shipping due to the farm’s proximity to urban centres.

New sustainable environments. An urban centre can be self-reliant instead of captive to massive traditional farming infrastructure.

Provides the farms for traditionally difficult environments. For instance, vertical farms makes farming in the tropics, the Arctic, space, the moon, and other plants possible.

Downsides:

Expensive. The technology to do this is expensive and may not scale properly. Urban properties are expensive. Wages would be high.

No proof of concept. Because the environment of a vertical farm is so self-contained, and actual profitable proof-of-concept would be nice. But there isn’t one yet. So far we’re at space elevator with this.

Some technology isn’t ready. Lighting, recycling, and power generation (just off the top of my head) are not prime-time ready yet. Especially LEDs.

Requires a lot of electricity. There’s only so much sunlight you can reliably capture with a vertical farm. So you’ll have to rely a lot on artificial light. This is expensive. Depending where you live, it’s also environmentally harmful, as electricity may be generated using fossil fuels or coal.

All the infrastructure is elsewhere. Growing the food is only one part of the equation. The other part is processing the food. Only a small portion of what we eat isn’t processed. So not only would you have to move the farm into the city, but you’d have to move the processing plants into the city as well in order to keep the shipping down for truly local food. This presents its own sets of problems, such as scaling down existing processing infrastructure to go vertical, recycling waste products and waste water from processing plants, and dealing with the inevitable pollution issues.

10 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of Vertical Farming

  1. A good start but the savings in hydrocarbon should I think be emphasised. Something like 40% of these products are used in the growing, processing, packaging and especially transportation of food products and these would be saved.
    Similarly by using old buildings in rundown areas of the cities, you are saving on capital costs.
    Provision of heating using air sourced heat pumps is well advanced and renewable energy for electricity and low power lighting is also available.
    Finally in cities all over the world there is a need to provide employment and vertical farms in the poorer areas in the developed world would proved a source of much needed employment – agreed other jobs in farming and shipping would be at risk but other forms of farming could be undertaken – trees for timber for example.

  2. i was kinda working on usage of HCPV (high concentration photovoltaic) or CPV technology in agriculture but this sounds like a better combination with HCPV as it will compensate the electrical needs of the project and as well we can sell the sell as well, further more reducing the carbon footprint.

  3. Have a good look at urbancrops.be, they’re ready, 4-5 installations in place and producing.

  4. Pingback: Okay, Whatever Blog Post About Pros/Cons of Vertical Farming – Manpreet Randev's Content Resources

  5. Thanks for sharing useful information with us, We Grow Vertically. Vertical turmeric farming is the Next Generation Urban farming project lead by AS Agri & Aqua.

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