A very modern combination of agriculture and technology has led to the development of the vertical farming industry. As a type of indoor farming, this approach to agriculture uses a carefully controlled space to house vertically stacked planting beds. The crops produced in this artificial environment are grown with hydroponic, aquaponic, or aeroponic farming methods, which are enhanced with a range of automated technology.
An increasing number of startups and companies are investing in vertical farming as the future of agriculture. Companies like Upward Farms, Plenty Farms, Greener Roots Farms, AeroFarms, and others are now partnering with major grocery retailers, including Walmart, Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, and others to provide produce. In addition to grocery supply, indoor farming companies are working with food and beverage manufacturers to provide ingredients as wholesalers.
The Indoor Farming Market And The Future Of Vertical Farming
The global indoor farming market growth is projected to reach $96.9 billion per Future Market Insights. The vertical farming market, in particular, is predicted to reach $20 billion by 2026 according to BIS Research. Vertical farming can solve many problems and eliminate challenges that are inherent to traditional types of agriculture.
The utilization of established urban spaces helps save on the cost and management of large outdoor fields. A carefully controlled growing environment that’s unaffected by weather, drought, insects, fungus, weeds, and other crop hindrances amounts to more consistent and predictable crop yields.
Since indoor and vertical farms can be located much closer to suppliers and customers, fewer resources are needed to prevent spoilage and damage to produce. These and other benefits are just a few reasons why the indoor farming market is on the rise, however, some obstacles could curb this approach to agriculture. Currently, the cost of the technology needed to successfully grow indoor crops has hobbled profitability.
The expense of establishing and maintaining artificial light, climate control, growing pods, and other indoor growing requirements is a major obstacle in making this approach profitable. However, improvements to the technology and the increasing cost of conventional farming are expected to fuel future vertical farming profitability and market growth.
Indoor Farming At Home
Indoor food growing is an ages-old practice that continues in many homes around the world. Sometimes indoor farming is maintained in a greenhouse or dedicated space that protects crops from the elements. Indoor farming at home can also be carried out in small living spaces with a few planting containers, light and water sources, and tools that allow for crop growth, propagation, and care. If the space permits, indoor farming at home can be completed with indoor planting beds and pots with the right soil mix, natural light and/or supplemental growing lights, and basic watering and fertilization.
Home growers in especially small spaces will sometimes choose to invest in hydroponic and pod-based setups that include growing lights, drainage systems, and other features that foster optimal growing conditions. Indoor farming at home may not be able to completely replace crop yields that are possible outdoors, but it is an excellent option for creating a self-managed supply of fresh food and reducing grocery store bills.