Wouldn’t it be great to be able to produce crops. 365 days of the year, without having to use pesticides or rely on human contact or worry about the weather.
Vertical farming - also known as indoor farming - is the future of design.
Vertical farming, unlike traditional farming, doesn’t rely on sunlight. With vertical farming LED lighting is used AND provides different wavelengths of light, accommodating to each stage of the crop and growth. It’s automated, it’s clean, and it’s available now!
On a personal note, my home renovation project is in month 2, there is dust and debris everywhere. A vertical farm, albeit small, is most definitely in my new home design - I can’t wait !
What is vertical farming ?
Vertical farming is growing crops in stacked layers within controlled environment farming conditions. Vertical farms can be built into architectural structures such as high-rise flats, car parks, shipping containers and underground tunnels.
Best of all the vertical farms use soil free growing techniques - no mud, no dust, no dirt !
The growing process is controlled by four elements – climate, lighting, irrigation, and fertigation (fertigation is where fertilisers, and all the nutrients are dispersed to the plants via the water system)
Benefits of vertical farming
Vertical farms can provide us with some amazing benefits such as boosting community engagement, whilst making the use of derelict urban spaces and regenerating them into vertical farms.
Vertical farming has fantastic benefits for children, especially those who live in urban areas or high-rise flats. They provide an outdoor space for children who don’t normally get access to outdoor spaces due to their living conditions. So, by introducing vertical and indoor farms to urban spaces we can teach children about the wonder of life, plants, and they get to eat it , whilst providing them with access to outdoors spaces it allows them to learn about the environment.
1. Environmentally friendly
Vertical farming is excellent for the environment, reduces the amount of fossil fuels that are needed for farming equipment such as fertilizer. It also helps to improve our biodiversity because it doesn’t cause land disturbance. This will help with the natural animal population which lives in around farms to thrive and populate.
2. Crop production is available all year round
A great benefit of vertical farming is that we don’t have to rely on the weather, which means we can achieve consistent crop production all year round.
By eliminating the stresses of weather conditions, there will be no such thing as seasonal produce. So, you would be able to successfully reduce harvest times throughout the year and improve volume of the product without compromising flavour and quality.
IKEA lab Space10 creates pop-up hydroponic farm for growing extra-healthy salads , (Image Credit - Rory Gardiner)
3. No chemicals or pesticides
By growing your food within a vertical farm, you can eliminate the need for pesticides - bugs and pests can’t enter a controlled environment to cause crop damage as they can’t cope with the humidity level. This leads to produce which is healthier, safer and better for all.
4. Better use of Space
Vertical farms can be designed and built in any climate or location regardless of weather conditions and temperature changes; traditional farms need to have fertile land, flat land, ideal growing conditions. Also, due to the growing stack system that vertical farms have, it allows crops to expand upwards and achieve a higher productivity within a small land area.
Fun fact! did you know that one acre of vertical farm could grow equivalent to between 10 – 20 soil-based acres.
5. Minimise water wastage
Water is a crucial element of all farming, one benefit of vertical farming is the hydroponic growing process. This process only uses up to 10 % of the amount of water, fertiliser and nutrients that is normally used in farming. Which means the water is clean after usage, therefore its can be recycled, reused which reduces costs and minimises waste.
My father had a farm, and I remember the constant worry about climate, and pests, PLUS the gruelling hours, and back breaking regime. Traditional farming is not an easy life.
The future holds exciting design for vertical farms, which can provide us with a new way of living and producing fresh produce in a cleaner and more sustainable ways. Allowing children, families, and communities to thrive and interact with growing produce. PLUS reducing our carbon footprint by making fresh product available on your doorstep.
The world of Biophilic Design is a dynamic and amazing discipline. In April I’m conducting a workshop on the elements, patterns and attributes that create a Biophilic Interiors, Architecture and are the future of design. Join me HERE