Vertical very first vertical farm grow towers

Vertical farming has its roots in NASA programs and other
scientific studies, and was conceptualized as far back as 1909 when the idea
was featured in Life Magazine. Since then, the idea has made steady progress, along
with the agricultural concepts of hydroponics and aquaponics. Back in 2000,
then teacher Dickson Despommier, Ph.D., asked his students what they thought
the world would look like in the year 2050. Their main concern was how to feed
the billions of people who would reside in urban areas and places where
farmland is scarce. The students calculated what it would take to turn all of
New Jersey’s rooftops into gardens, and found that even if all of it was
cultivated, it would only provide enough food for about two percent of the predicted
population of 2050. Despommier continued to encourage his students to find
answers, giving them examples such as the indoor agricultural methods that were
pioneered by NASA to grow food on other planets. This is part of the story of
how vertical farming became a reality. In 2010 Despommier wrote a book, and by
2011 there were already farms being cultivated in England, Holland, Korea, and
Japan.

One of the very first vertical farm grow towers was built in
an elementary school in Newark and is still in operation today. The kids love
growing their own baby greens and learning all about biology, chemistry, math,
and farming. It’s a small-scale version of a program now run by AeroFarms which
will someday help feed the world.

AeroFarms is housed in four buildings in Newark, and the
primary location was a former paintball and laser-tag amusement center. Now the
space is full of row after row of eight-level vertical towers and technicians
in white coats. The company is run by David Rosenberg, Marc Oshima, and Ed
Harwood. Harwood is considered by many to be the original evangelist of
vertical farming. With Harwood’s patented mesh fabric and a proprietary spray
nozzle, AeroFarms grows and ships more than a thousand tons of greens annually.

Vertical farming relies heavily on technology. AeroFarms’
seventy thousand square feet of structure contains grow tables that are stacked
twelve layers tall and stocked with bok choy, watercress, red-leaf lettuce, and
other baby greens. The whole process is monitored and maintained by
algorithm-driven computers and sensors that take the seedlings all the way
through the sprouting process to maturation within eighteen days. This is a
yield that is 350 times greater than traditional farming techniques and uses
only one percent of the water needed to irrigate most land farms. This kind of
farming also has the benefit of freeing up depleted farmlands and giving them a
much-needed rest, and hopefully reversing some of the despoliation of the
earth. These farms can be housed in shipping containers, warehouses or any
other enclosed structure that can provide a controlled environment. Vertical
farming, along with hydroponic or aeroponic systems, can consume less water,
and create less ocean pollution from agricultural runoff, and be used to
encourage independence from the restrictions of seasonal growing.

Seattle, Houston, Brooklyn, Detroit, Queens, and Chicago are
just a few of the cities that are working with the idea of vertical farming in
a variety of different forms. With the possibility of creating local homegrown
healthy food in any neighborhood, vertical farming shows the greatest promise
for solving many environmental, economic, and food shortage crises. Vertical
farming will probably never replace traditional farming completely, but the
technology is a viable alternative. It is a complementary method of growing the
food we need, at a cost that doesn’t break us or the environment.