Vertical farming — the future of food?

http://www.verticalfarm.com/
BBC2 have been running a series called “Future of Food“.  One of the features of the programme was the idea of vertical farming in urban areas.  This really captured my imagination as it seems, in principle at least, to address more than one problem.  The project’s website includes a long list of advantages of vertical farming (VF) — some practical, others a bit more “creative”.  Here is a selection from the site:

  • Year-round crop production; 1 indoor acre is equivalent to 4-6 outdoor acres or more, depending upon the crop (e.g., strawberries: 1 indoor acre = 30 outdoor acres)
  • No weather-related crop failures due to droughts, floods, pests
  • All VF food is grown organically: no herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers
  • VF virtually eliminates agricultural runoff by recycling black water
  • VF converts black and gray water into potable water by collecting the water of evapotranspiration
  • VF adds energy back to the grid via methane generation from composting non-edible parts of plants and animals
  • VF dramatically reduces fossil fuel use (no tractors, plows, shipping.)
  • VF creates new employment opportunities
  • We cannot go to the moon, Mars, or beyond without first learning to farm indoors on earth
  • VF could reduce the incidence of armed conflict over natural resources, such as water and land for agriculture

Could this be a common feature of agriculture in the future?

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