vertical farming

what is vertical farming

Vertical farming is the agricultural process in which crops are grown on top of each other, rather than in traditional, horizontal rows. Growing vertically allows for conservation in space, resulting in a higher crop yield per square foot of land used. Vertical farms are mainly located indoors, such as a warehouse, where they have the ability to control the environmental conditions for plants to succeed

Modern Day Vertical Farming

Vertical farming, the latest innovation in CEA, which is how Bowery Farming grows its crops, is…exactly what it sounds like: farming upward. Unlike traditional farming, or should we say “horizontal farming,” where plants are arranged in rows spread across vast tracts of land, vertical farms like Bowery’s place rows of crops on top of each other in what are creatively called “stacks,” all of which are contained in an indoor warehouse environment. One of the most obvious benefits of indoor vertical farms is space—a lot more space. Vertical farms are able to dramatically increase productivity per acre by accommodating many more crops to grow upward, all while occupying the same amount of land. But how does it all work

Why is Vertical Farming Important for Our Future Food System?

While this elaborate system might seem extravagant compared to the Old MacDonald image of farming we grew up with, there is reason to believe in in door farming as an important way forward

This next frontier of farming boasts some important advantages: it allows farmers to produce more output, use fewer resources, and reduce transportation by locating operations closer to the point of consumption. At Bowery, we’re developing and implementing technological solution into our indoor vertical farms to address many of the key issues humans are facing, including:

Irresponsible Water Usage:

About 70% of the world is covered by water, but only 2.5% is fresh. Only 1% percent of freshwater is easily accessible — and agriculture consumes 70% of it globally. That’s a lot of water!

Because Bowery grows hydroponically in a protected, indoor environment, we can give crops a precise amount of purified, nutrient-rich water to thrive. Water is continuously recirculated in our irrigation system, resulting in significant water savings compared to field-grown crops.

Loss of Arable Land:

Over the past 40 years, we’ve lost 30% of Earth’s arable land due to damaging practices, such as urban encroachment and pollution, that cause both topsoil erosion and poor soil health.

Bowery turns industrial spaces outside of cities into smart indoor farms where every square foot is put to use year-round. Our efficient design stacks crops vertically, making our farms 100x more productive than field-grown operations, all while using the same footprint of land.

Use of Pesticides:

Every year, the U.S. uses more than one billion pounds of pesticides, which can impact ecosystems and diminish soil health. An estimated 70% of U.S. produce has traces of pesticides.

Bowery grows pesticide-free produce in a controlled, protected environment.

A Fragmented Food System:

The precarious global food supply chain is susceptible to environmental and economic disruption. Climate and crisis events such as COVID-19 have laid bare the fragility of our food system.

Bowery’s indoor, vertically integrated farms can grow 365 days a year and are located right outside of cities. This means our farms offer a secure, fresh, and consistent supply of food to local communities.

Food Safety:

Since 2006, leafy greens have been involved in at least 46 multistate E. coli outbreaks (mostly due to contaminated irrigation water from nearby livestock operations). Tracing the origin of outbreaks is difficult because greens from various farms are mixed at processing plants and then redistributed by third parties.

At Bowery, our indoor environment not only offers safety from pathogens, but it also enables us to control the entire journey of every crop, from seed to store, at an unprecedented scale. A fully traceable and simplified fresh food supply chain, which doesn’t rely on third party intermediaries and delivers straight to a grocery store, drastically reduces vulnerabilities to outbreaks.

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