Vertical Farming Advantages and Disadvantages
According to market research by IDEX, the vertical farming market will grow from $781 million in 2020 to $1.5 billion by 2030 at a CAGR of 6.85%.
There have been several countries that implement vertical farming systems in their urban cities such as Singapore, Israel, Chicago, Munich, London, Japan, and Lincolnshire.
VerticalTemplate outlined the key advantages and disadvantages of vertical farming in the following points:
|Advantages of Vertical Farming||Disadvantages of Vertical Farming|
|Maximized Use of Land in Urban||Lack of Natural Diversity|
|Minimized Wastage||3 to 5 Times More Expensive|
|Food Safety in Controlled Environment||Relied on Stable Power Source|
|Protected from Harsh Environment||Technical Knowledge of Farmer|
|Use Less Water||High Energy Consumption Can Be Environment Issue|
What Are The Advantages Of Vertical Farming
Maximized Use of Land in Urban City
Scientists say that the Earth has lost a third of its arable lands over the last 40 years.
By 2050, 80% of the world population is expected to live in urban areas. The World is also expected to be populated by 9.1 billion people, and global food demand is estimated to rise by approximately 50%. (researchgate.net)
The benefit of vertical farming is due to the usage of stacked layers of food production for higher crop yield without using arable lands.
According to an independent estimate, a 30-story building with a basal area of 5 acres can potentially produce an equivalent of 2,400 acres of conventional horizontal farming. (thebalancesmb.com).
According to calculations by Tomkins, one can grow five times as much in an indoor setting relative to the field (tandfonline.com)
Singapore vertical farms Singapore, which has developed a reputation recently for being innovative, has developed 120 aluminum-based towers, having a height of almost 30 feet, that can be used to grow different types of vegetables for then selling in local food stores. You can read our post about Singapore vertical farming.
Vertical farms promote self-sustainability within a city, with reduced transportation costs and spoilage unlike traditional farming in the rural areas
The easiest form of vertical gardens is in an unused rooftop of a real estate. In Singapore, the rooftop of a multi-story car park is an urban farm, growing food and growing crops for locals.
Food Safety in Controlled Environment
With pollutions like microplastic in water, having food in a controlled environment can limit illness spreading through the polluted environment.
Some urban centers, such as Singapore, already produce 10% of leafy green vegetables by indoor farming because of a commitment to enhancing domestic food security. (tandfonline.com).
The vertical farm provides an environment almost free of invasive pest species [ environmental degradation by polluting surface water and groundwater. (researchgate.net)
Urban agriculture provides organic produce and organic food, given that there are no pesticides or nearby farms using pesticides.
We also listed many companies to check in our vertical farming guide.
Protected from Harsh Environment
Within the buildings, vertical farmers build tall structures with several levels of growing beds, to spread across the U.S. are those carried by companies such as Green Spirit Farms, FarmedHere, site. (researchgate.net)
When the building is built to sustain minor earthquakes or hurricanes, it protects the crops from most natural disasters. This prevents unexpected interruptions to food supply and a spike in food costs.
Use Less Water
Vertical farming allows us to produce crops with 70-95 percent less water than required for normal cultivation. The monitored environment allows very efficient use of water only when needed and the closed system allows recycling the unused water. This is very useful for cities that paid money to obtain clean water like Singapore. You can read our post on urban farms in Singapore.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Vertical Farming
Lack of Natural Diversity
Non-industrialized conventional farming, mainly in Asia, used outdoor farming that embraces nature. Traditional farming in the arable areas does not engage in heavy irrigation, intensive tillage, or use of fertilizers, pesticides.
Cross-pollination of farmers' crops happened through natural workers like bees. Plant diseases happened and a newer stronger crop is naturally developed to survive them.
One fruit that lacked natural diversity is the banana fruit. This makes the fruit vulnerable to a disease outbreak.
Vertical Farming is 3 to 5 Times More Expensive
The main negative of vertical farming is the cost of an urban area.
In the case of Victoria Australia, assuming 50-fold improved productivity, the return on investment of vertical farming is terrible and required an estimated 67 years to break-even (tandfonline.com).
Beyond land values, a traditional single-level greenhouse outside the inner urban area has been estimated to cost around US$317 per square meter in Victoria Australia, and as little as US$0.791.58 per square meter in developing countries.
The high initial cost to set up a vertical garden also deters investment.
Relied on Stable Power Source
Besides the negatives of vertical farming due to the cost of vertical farming, the worst to happen is a power outage shorting the system managing the crop. Plants in urban farms relied on an artificial environment using artificial lights and a crop maintenance system for optimal growing conditions.
Technical Knowledge Required For Farmer
A vertical farm is a high technology industry. The farmers need to have the technical knowledge or complex processes to recover from an outage if any components are broken. Without artificial light, certain crops can just wither or stun the plant growth.
This means that vertical farming depends on an artificial atmosphere that maintains a temperature of 40C and constant humidity, and crops grown by these vertical farms may die from energy shortages. (modernurbanfarming.net)
High Energy Consumption Can Be Environment Issue
The huge energy consumption can also be regarded as an environmental issue since most of our energy is still produced out of fossil fuels, which in turn implies serious greenhouse gas emissions. (environmental-conscience.com)
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