Ideas we love: solving food scarcity with the vertical farm

Cities are full of food deserts, with little public land to use for farming. Additionally, farmland that is overfarmed outside of the city creates soil that becomes void of nutrients and eventually produces less food. Vertical farming may be able to help solve these challenges, accessing new technology for growing and sustaining farmed food indoors in a controlled climate structure.


From the article:

No. 212 Rome Street, in Newark, New Jersey, used to be the address of Grammer, Dempsey & Hudson, a steel-supply company. It was like a lumberyard for steel, which it bought in bulk from distant mills and distributed in smaller amounts, mostly to customers within a hundred-mile radius of Newark. It sold off its assets in 2008 and later shut down. In 2015, a new indoor-agriculture company called AeroFarms leased the property. It had the rusting corrugated-steel exterior torn down and a new building erected on the old frame. Then it filled nearly seventy thousand square feet of floor space with what is called a vertical farm. The building’s ceiling allowed for grow tables to be stacked twelve layers tall, to a height of thirty-six feet, in rows eighty feet long. The vertical farm grows kale, bok choi, watercress, arugula, red-leaf lettuce, mizuna, and other baby salad greens.

Find out how it works and what inspired the technology here.

illustration by Bruce McCall via The New Yorker