IMPORTANCE OF HIGH YIELDS
There is a growing need for sustainable and environmentally sound methods to produce and distribute food. According to the United Nations, there will be an additional 1.2 billion people by 2030. With already almost 1 billion people hungry in the world, the need to produce food at an effective and sustainable rate is of the utmost importance.
In addition to population growth, over 40% of the world’s agricultural land is degraded. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the world's agricultural land (including arable and *non-arable land) amounts to 4,924 million hectares; around 2,000 million hectares of arable and grazing land are moderately to severely degraded.
Soil erosion is a natural phenomenon, however conventional agriculture practices such as clear-cutting, over-grassing, monocultures and synthetic fertilizers have severely amplified it. Conventional agriculture practices highly compromises the lands capability to feed the world’s population
*Non-arable agricultural land: pastures and crops from woody vegetations e.g. orchards, vineyards, and coffee plantations.
"When trees are removed, vibrant ecosystems are often overfarmed, eroded and rendered infertile in a cascade effect that is mirrored with social decline, grinding poverty and climate extremes." - TreeSisters
Current farming practices have adverse impacts to the ecology, which will only be compounded by the increase demand for food in the future. The adverse ecological impact of conventional farming continues to include:
Wasteful use of fresh water (70% of the world's water usage is for agriculture production)
Soil erosion and desertification
High demand for fossils fuels and its associated greenhouse effect
Loss of terrestrial biodiversity
Contamination of the soil, air and water
Food borne illness and disease
If the food crisis is not resolved, social chaos will unfold, especially in the over-crowded nations. Vertical Farming offers a novel way for tackling this challenge.
OFFERS A SOLUTION
“One solution involves the construction of urban food production centers – vertical farms – in which our food would be continuously grown inside of tall buildings within the built environment. If we could engineer this approach to food production, then no crops would ever fail due to severe weather events (floods, droughts, hurricanes, etc.). Produce would be available to city dwellers without the need to transport it thousands of miles from rural farms to city markets. Spoilage would be greatly reduced, since crops would be sold and consumed within moments after harvesting.”
“The Vertical Farm - Feeding the World in the 21st Century”
by Dickson Despommier