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Hydropolis » Blog » Why Vertical Farming is the Future of Food?
10.11.2023 Autor: Hydropolis

Why Vertical Farming is the Future of Food?

Hydropolis » Blog » Why Vertical Farming is the Future of Food?
Autor: Hydropolis

Modern agriculture faces many challenges, including climate change, disrupted supply chains, population growth, and the development of modern technologies, such as automation. That requires the adoption of new methods of food production.

Vertical farming offers an automated solution. It is cultivation in a controlled environment, where plants are placed one above the other on multi-level racks. Production operates independently of external conditions.

Vertical farms can operate year-round, with a key focus on plant growth models. This model incorporates plant physiology and reaction kinetics. Collected data is processed by an algorithm that integrates real-time measurements from sensors monitoring the atmosphere and nutrients.

At every growth stage, the plant receives all the necessary micro- and macro- elements for healthy growth. Vertical farms provide predictable and reliable production, aligning with modern farming practices in Poland and worldwide.

Here are three reasons why vertical farms could be the future of agriculture.

Shortening the Supply Chain

Worldwide agriculture utilizes approximately 51 million square kilometers of land, nearly 50% of habitable land globally1. Vertical farming can be implemented virtually anywhere, even in the city center. It is conducted indoors or within a shipping container. Existing buildings are also repurposed for farming (they are suitably prepared for cultivation).

Source: Vertical farm lettuce from seed to harvest at the Hydropolis R&D center.

As a result, the distance food travels significantly decrease from the farmer, through processing, to the retail seller, and ultimately, the consumer. Supply chain logistics become less complex, and “food miles” are minimized to the necessary minimum.

Vertical farms operate in the centers of urban agglomerations, subway stations, and even in deserts. Here are a few interesting examples:

1. In London, cultivation takes place in a former World War II air raid shelter.

2. In the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, there is a farm within the Stamba Hotel.

3. On the 5th floor of the İstinyePark shopping center in Turkey, a farm grows lettuce and herbs.

Shorter supply chains improve both food safety and the quality of products that make it to the table. The COVID pandemic had a significant impact on the growing interest in locally produced food. Almost half of Poles (47.9%) participating in the Upfield survey confirmed that they started eating healthier. They included more vegetables (75.6%) and fruits (49.9%) in their diet.

According to the report “SUSTAINABLE FOOD IN POLAND, The Birth of a Mass Market as an Opportunity for the Food Industry,” as many as 79% of Poles want to buy more high-quality products2. Moreover, 73% of Polish consumers claim to choose Polish and local products.

In 2023, WTW conducted a study with supply chain decision-makers to better understand the opportunities and threats facing the industry. It surveyed 100 logistics specialists from the agricultural and food sectors about the challenges and the future of food transportation.

The respondents identified that the most serious impact on supply chains comes from cyber threats. Additionally, as many as 70% of the participants highlighted the use and access to natural resources. Among other key risks, they mentioned climate change and armed conflicts. Sustainable development was considered one of the most important trends, supported by over 4 out of 10 individuals (42%)3

A shorter path for food to reach the consumer means:

1. Opportunity for regional development.
2. Reduced food waste during transportation.
3. Fresh products closer to the local community.
4. Improved business profitability.

Hydroponics: What is It, and How Can You Benefit From It

Sustainable Development

Doglądanie uprawy 2
Source: Hydropolis vertical farm as part of the R&D center

Climate change can have negative consequences for agriculture, including the inability to implement predictable production and protection against extreme weather events.

  1. Financially profitable for farmers.
  2. Beneficial for consumers who expect healthy and local food.
  3. In line with the European “farm to table” policy and sustainable development, protecting natural resources, soil, and the environment.

Vertical farms are developed in accordance with the concept of sustainable development. They enable the efficient use of resources, minimize the negative environmental impact, and simultaneously provide healthy and local food. This type of cultivation already serves as a green alternative to traditional agriculture.

Would you like more information about vertical farming?

Automation of work in vertical farming

The implementation of automated processes on a vertical farm allows for high production efficiency and accuracy. Software, data analytics, and robotics are just a few elements of technology that create optimal conditions for plant growth on the farm.

Every stage at Hydropolis Farm – from seed to plant harvest – is closely monitored, allowing for:

  1. Obtaining certain yields in a precisely defined time – Hydropolis Farm has ready-made crop recipes for selected plant species (lettuce, herbs, and microgreens).
  2. Cost reduction – GROW WIZARD: software for managing vertical farming that allows control, management, and production planning.
  3. Sales scaling planning – time that would be required for farm work can be spent to further agricultural business development: acquiring partners for cooperation, participating in industry events, marketing, and media contact.

Future of Vertical Farming

  • 1. Development of crop recipes for growing various plant species. Hydropolis has ready-to-implement crop recipes for cultivating lettuce, herbs, and microgreens. Research on additional plant species will begin soon.
  • 2. Full automation. Currently, vertical farms require constant supervision. In the future, solutions may emerge to expedite production and automate all farming tasks.
  • 3. Energy consumption optimization. The first step toward optimization involves utilizing energy-efficient solutions. The second step is harnessing renewable energy sources, such as photovoltaic installations and heat pumps.

Is Vertical Farming the Future?

Źródło: Canva, Image generated by AI, Vertical Farm of The Future

It’s important to make it clear that vertical farms won’t replace conventional farming methods. Vertical farming serves as a complementary component of modern agriculture and is a crucial element in the future food production structure.

Controlled-environment cultivation helps reduce the environmental impact of agriculture. Vertical farms provide a reliable, year-round plant production that operates independently of weather conditions. They require zero pesticide use and up to 65% less fertilizer than traditional farming.

Currently, the key focus is on developing solutions to maximize efficiency in vertical farms, such as reducing energy consumption while increasing production.

1.Christian Schürings, Christian K. Feld, Jochem Kail & Daniel Hering, Effects of agricultural land use on river biota: a meta-analysis, 2022.

2.Accenture, SUSTAINABLE FOOD IN POLAND, The Birth of a Mass Market as an Opportunity for the Food Industry, 2021.

3.WTW, Food, Beverage and Agriculture Supply Chain Risk Report 2023, 2023.

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