Re-imagining urban agriculture with vertical farming – Global issues

The time is ripe to reimagine urban agriculture with vertical farming.  The ongoing global food crisis, especially in urban areas, presents a unique opportunity to develop and strengthen this revolutionary and sustainable way of food production.
Vertical farm in Finland. Credit: Creative Commons.
  • Idea by Esther Ngumbi (urbana, illinois, usa)
  • Associated Press Service

Challenges in agriculture and food systems, especially in urban areas and cities around the world, provide an opportunity to reimagine urban agriculture and increase food production and processing. in and around urban areas. Doing so could make billions of dollars, but it will require investment, collaboration, research and innovation.

Promisingly, there are a number of innovative approaches to food development in urban areas around the world that have been helping. An example is vertical farming Use abandoned buildings, warehouses and skyscrapers to grow food. Other approaches include growing food in trendy rooftop gardens.

In New Jersey, Aerofarms, for example, are capable of produce about 19,000 pounds of vegetables annual. In Chicago, Wilder Fields, a vertical farm with production capacity of 25 million heads of fresh lettuce.

The growing food approaches in this metropolis are no longer a futuristic concept yes some favorable to traditional farming. First, these approaches require no land. Instead, they use other media such as hydroponics and other nutrient-enhanced growth media. Second, because production takes place in-house and there is no definite growing season, reliable production can take place year-round. Third, vertical farms use less water and the production time is short.

Furthermore, fresh food grown on vertical farms travels fewer miles to the grocery store than conventional produce that travels thousands of miles by plane or truck. Because crops are protected from a number of challenges that conventional agriculture faces including extreme weather events and crop-destroying pests, vertical farming can increase yields and yields. food quantity. Vertical farming is possible real meet the demand for food production in an environmentally sustainable manner.

Urban consumers have also contributed to the rise of vertical farms, as they are increasingly concerned with the ecological footprint of the food they are consuming.

It is encouraging that in recent years, there have been gradually increase the number of vertical farming businesses, especially in Asia and North America. In the US, there are several vertical farms including AeroFarmsGreen Spirit Farms, BrightFarms, Gotham Greens, Freight Farms, Chicago, New Jersey and Detroit.

Developments in vertical farming and urban farming and associated activities research evidence proves that high-yield urban farming is a good trend that needs the support of governments, private industry, philanthropists, NGOs and research institutions and universities. University.

To encourage continued growth in vertical farming and food crops in urban areas and turn urban areas into agricultural powerhouses, sustainability research, innovation and support is required. funding from various funding sources.

The good news is that some important things need to happen to keep the growth of vertical farming going. The United States Department of Agriculture, for example, summon a stakeholder workshop focused solely on vertical agriculture and sustainable urban ecosystems and organized additional small-group discussions that focused on many of the key areas for thriving vertical farming such as human cultivars, techniques and pest management. In addition, the USDA has launched a call for funding to support research on urban agriculture.

At the same time, there was an increase in peer review articles and research on vertical farming. This includes research that addresses economic feasibility, system design and optimization, plant breeding, Optimize nutrients used in vertical farming, use robotic technology to automatically harvest and Effective and best practices for pest management.

Of course, to advance vertical farming and to ensure that all cities, not just a few, have at least one vertical farm, more will be needed. Among what is needed is the establishment of task forces comprising diverse stakeholders that will be responsible for delivering strategic plans, policies, recommendations and assessments of what will be needed to develop develop urban farms in cities. In the US, for example, the White House in conjunction with the USDA and all elected city mayors and public and private research universities could join the effort.

Complementing the above efforts is the need to continue to build a database of urban agriculture initiatives, to encourage more private sector funding, to create supportive policies. sustainable growth of urban farms including vertical farms, and the launch of urban agriculture research initiatives located in universities located near cities.

The time is ripe to reimagine urban agriculture with vertical farming. The ongoing global food crisis, especially in urban areas, presents a unique opportunity to develop and strengthen this revolutionary and sustainable way of food production.

Dr. Esther Ngumbi is an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, and a Senior Fellow for Food Security at the Aspen Institute, New Voices.

© Inter Press Service (2022) – All rights reservedOrigin: Inter Press Service

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