Frequently asked questions

What is vertical farmiing?

What is vertical farming?


Vertical farming is the practice of growing crops in vertically stacked layers. It often incorporates controlled-environment agriculture, which aims to optimize plant growth, and soilless farming techniques such as hydroponics, aquaponics, and aeroponics.




What can you grow using vertical farming methods?


Chives and mint are some of the best vertical farming crops for beginners. Although categorized with herbs, both chives and mint have a quick turn and produce densely like grass. It is easy to harvest. These herbs are some of the best crops for new vertical farmers to start with.




What are the drawbacks?


1. Problems are created related to economic viability due to costs There will be fewer jobs as people do not need to carry crops, resulting in many people jobless and farmers losing jobs. Another drawback is the lack of pollinators in the crops, which may need to be done manually. Because the pollination has to be done by hand, the wages paid are also very high. Building vertical farms in expensive cities will increase total investment and operating costs. Moreover, approving the construction of vertical farms may increase the cost of occupation due to additional need. This can be overcome by more individuals creating their own mini vertical farms growing their own food like those HERE 2. Possible environmental and energy impacts occur Concerns about pollution and sustainable use arise because home-grown crops depend on artificial light. Although the use of light-emitting diode or LED lighting in photo-voltaic solar panels reduces the cost of electricity consumption, it still has its effects. So that the usage of LED grow lights has increased. There are so many vertical gardening farms using 1000-watt LED grow lights. In addition to these artificial lighting, a vertical farm has complex machinery and automated systems. Therefore, vertical farming requires more energy input compared to field farming. Since vertical farming depends on the use of fossil fuels, this practice has even more significant effects. There is a need to develop renewable and alternative energy technologies to ensure the environmental sustainability and energy efficiency of vertical farming. 3. There is potential for disruption to the village and its communities Another challenge and disadvantage are that vertical farming involves the potential to destabilize communities that rely on agriculture. Vertical farms can make traditional agricultural work obsolete. Families who live below the poverty line and the poverty line that relies on agriculture, in particular, will definitely suffer. As a result, urban agriculture will compete with rural agriculture. To effectively transition to vertical farming, there is a need to formulate and implement strategies or programs aimed at educating government officials, creating relevant laws or policies, and introducing new trends in agriculture. 4. The need for advanced technologies and complex processes Building and operating a vertical farm requires the use of various technologies that are aligned at a high startup cost and design complex processes. It is more expensive to start and maintain vertical farming than traditional field farming. IT-related technology can help track crops, crop maintenance, recording outputs and determining demand. Nonetheless, creating and operating a vertical farm for someone with no relevant familiarity, connection and capital can be challenging. 5. The artificial environment can fail at any point Finally relying on technology can be a major disadvantage for vertical farming. If a vertical farm loses energy per day, it will be a huge loss in production. This means that vertical farming depends on an artificial atmosphere that maintains a temperature of 40 ° C and constant humidity, and crops grown by these vertical farms may die from energy shortages.




What are the solutions to reduce costs and carbon footprint of vertical farming?


Economic Viability of Vertical Farming: Overcoming financial obstacles to a greener future of farming – US Environmental Policy (duke.edu)




What types of vertical farms are there?


Hydroponics, Aeroponics, Aquaponics, Building-based vertical farms, Shipping-container vertical farms




What crops are profitable?


Lettuces, kales, chards and collard greens, chives and mint, basil, small woody herbs.




What are the differences between urban ag and rural based vertical farm systems?


It’s all the rage, Urban Farming is the flavour of the month! Or is that year, or decade? There are two different schools of thought for urban greenhouse development. The first is based on the proven commercial agricultural greenhouse model, modified in scale and design to fit on top of commercial buildings. Rooftop greenhouses have been built for years by companies like JGS, and Frank Jonkman. Traditional rooftop greenhouses have primarily been used for the purpose of research greenhouse facilities, and as part of teaching institutes. Newer minds have taken the rooftop greenhouse concept and built a business model for using the rooftop greenhouse not as a research center but as a commercial production greenhouse to supply the local market. The second, and even newer concept to take hold in the urban agricultural movement is what has come to be known as Vertical Farming. Vertical farming is portrayed either as a growing system within the commercial greenhouse or rooftop greenhouse, or as a new architectural wonder built into the side of complex commercial high-rises, otherwise known as “Farmscrapers”. Proponents for Rooftop greenhouses argue that a major advantage to this model is the ability to add on to existing downtown buildings. And companies like: BrightFarms, Gotham Greens, and Lufa Farms appear to be making the rooftop greenhouse a feasible business venture. Rooftop greenhouses do require additional engineering considerations that a traditional field construction sites don’t have, and due diligence is certainly necessary to ensure the building underneath the greenhouse has the structural supports in place for the added weight of structure, equipment, and crop. Roof top construction also requires greenhouse manufacturers to adjust standard sizes and posts spacing to accommodate the unusual dynamics of the site. And logistics for construction are very important when working downtown on top of the twelfth floor. Once the greenhouse is built on top of the building, operating it is more or less the same as a traditional commercial greenhouse operation. The scale of the rooftop greenhouse may increase production costs, but the business case has been made that the increased production costs are easily offset by the reduction in transportation costs that the agricultural greenhouse farmer has to bring produce into the city. Proponents of vertical farming on the other hand argue that while rooftop use is a good first step, the square footage of usable urban roofs does not provide enough growing capacity to satisfy the requirements of large urban centers. So, growing up, becomes the mantra for maximizing usable square footage in city centers. There are various vertical growing systems bandied about over the last 5 years though none seem to have gained much commercial attraction, and there have been a few spectacular failures to offset the excitement. Vertical farming does require higher capital investments, more sophisticated equipment for production efficiency, and higher lighting costs. Nonetheless, architects continue to dream up dynamic and futuristic Farmscrapers. For the near future the rooftop greenhouse is a more attainable greenhouse production business, but as LED light technology and computer sensor controlled picking and packing systems continue to develop who knows what the future will look like for urban greenhouse growers. 1. At this time we are not aware of actual financial results for any of these companies. So the appearance of the financial viability is based strictly on expansion plans as reported in various media.




Is food from vertical farms safer to eat than conventional grown crops in fields or glass houses?


While there are no industry-wide food safety standards for vertical farming, there are strict protocols that most companies put in place, according to a U.S. expert. “Vertical farms are, in fact, generally and significantly safer than conventional agriculture,” says Joel Cuello, Ph.D., Vice Chair, Association for Vertical Farming. Cuello is also a Professor of Biosystems Engineering at the University of Arizona. He adds that, at present, most vertical farms don’t seek out internationally recognized food safety certification because of this perception. The standard practice is using “clean rooms,” in which employees have to disinfect themselves and wear laboratory gowns before entering the facility. The idea is to make sure there are no pathways for microbials to enter the growing room.




Can you build a vertical farm anywhere?


A vertical farm can be built anywhere and at any time.




Are vertical farmed crops organic?


No. Organic farming refers to farming with organic inputs only, while vertical farming refers to growing of plants /crops vertically.




Is vertical farming resource efficient?


We believe the potential of vertical farming remains underappreciated as a solution to many problems posed by agriculture. Vertical farming, which is conducted in controlled environments such as greenhouses, using soilless techniques such as hydroponics and aeroponics, aims to optimise plant growth and minimise land requirements. Incredibly, four acres of vertical farming can produce the same number of crops as a 1,000-acre field. Vertical farming also uses 95% less water than traditional farming, due to closed loop watering systems, and does not require chemicals or pesticides to fend off insects.




How does vertical farm help with food security?


the hydroponic vegetable industry has a built-in food safety advantage over open-field farming. He believes that this advantage comes from its “physical infrastructure and higher levels of environmental controls.” In recent years, the safety of our food supply has been called into question. Numerous food recalls are a regular part of news broadcasts across the country. Recently, it was found that fruit and vegetables failed import safety checks at a rate of 12.5%. At the same time, other categories such as meat, fish, and eggs, achieved compliance rates over 95%. National producers of fruit and vegetables have also had problems. Wendy’s and Chick-fil-A are reporting lettuce shortages, eliminating menu items like salads, due to extreme warm weather and a bug-borne virus in Salinas in October 2020. We also saw an outbreak related to contaminated romaine lettuce originated in California in 2019. This year’s recalls of onions and peaches also originated domestically. Vertical farms using hydroponic technologies could usher in a revolution in food safety. Hydroponic growing has a plethora of food safety benefits. Year after year, pathogens are found in traditionally-grown (or soil-grown) crops. This is because the soil itself contains naturally-occurring pathogens, and traditional farms are open to contamination from outside sources such as animal droppings and tainted run-off. Hydroponic farming has the potential to drastically reduce the number of people who get sick via foodborne illness every year by eliminating these pathogens from the growing process. Foodborne illnesses have originated from traditionally grown crops over and over, and the problem is growing. It’s important to understand the dangers of these foodborne illnesses, as well as what “food safety” is and how every individual along the food supply chain has a role to play. Fortunately, recent food safety news gives us hope that hydroponics can improve food safety.





What can grow using vertical farming methods?


 
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