The Future of Vertical Farming
The year 2021 seems to be a great year for the AeroFarms, new Jersey-based pioneers that are leading vertical farming projects with their creative technology. Recently, the company announced a merger with Spring Valley Acquisition Corp, and they have also established a partnership with Hortfrut to lead research and development in the field of vertical farming technology.
AeroFarms was established in the year 2004, and the company sells its products, including to Whole Foods, via 200 different grocery stores within the Northeast. The company is managing a vertical farm in New Jersey, and the teams are eager to create more such farms in different corners of the world. With its one of its kind facilities in Abu Dhabi, AeroFarms is now recognized as one of the largest vertical farming companies; they have also opened another farm in Danville, Virginia. The company is raising its capital from the existing farms and is planning to open 16 new vertical farms to lead the world with its green technology.
It is important to mention that AeroFarms makes use of aeroponics, a modern soilless technique for growing crops. It makes use of mist to cut water requirements by almost 95 percent. Moreover, the idea is to plant seeds inside a specially designed cloth which is made up of recycled plastic bottles. The developers used LED lights to create automated lighting systems within vertical farms. These LEDs were arranged in such a manner that plants in the vertical farms could get wavelengths within a specific range to ensure maximum growth in desired time.
Vertical farming has already established a solid mark in food supply chain management. As per a report published in the year 2021, indoor farming is expected to have an annual growth rate of higher than 24% between the year 2018 to 2024; it may hit the estimated revenue of $3 billion by 2024.
Although the indoor farming system, especially vertical farming, is the most fruitful invention of the modern era, the concept is not out of controversy. One of the major topics of debate at present is the energy required to run the LED system in vertical farming plants. Furthermore, the advanced automation and irrigation systems used in indoor farming are also observed to leave a higher impact on climate as compared to the traditional farming methods. There is no doubt to say that the indoor farming concept is already gaining a good reputation for the factors like pesticide use, water use, food waste, and food loss; the experts are still working on the energy-related hurdles. At present, one of the main goals of AeroFarms is to reduce energy intensity at vertical farms without affecting production.
The success of this vertical farming system could open doors to better food supply management while meeting the rising demands of the growing populations. If the company succeeds in balancing automation while achieving its social goals, it can bring a revolution to the agriculture sector and food chain as well. Moreover, this innovation may also create job opportunities for tech experts in the future.