Environment: Making it better wherever you are
New forms of farming are sprouting up all over the world (pardon the pun). As more people migrate from rural living to city life, urban farming is becoming more popular, be it on a vacant lot, within a warehouse, or trailing up a skyscraper.
Vertical farming as opposed to horizontal farming, has the elements that address our modern needs: high production from a small space, short distance for consumer delivery, and a crop free of pesticides. Vertical farming has been around for decades, even centuries - weren’t the fabled Hanging Gardens of Babylon an early example?
In recent decades, scientists have been working on ways to improve the efficiency of vertical farming, i.e., using less water and power. Several companies are now finding success at producing healthy vegetables to feed an urban population.
The most ambitious endeavor, AeroFarms, is about to open the largest vertical farm in America in an old steel factory in Newark, NJ. They have a strong group of financial backers which brings up the idea that some of these new urban farming companies might be a good investment. AeroFarms has come up with a way to use lighting in a much more efficient way, and their mist system infuses nutrients into the plants without having the roots immersed in water. Here's an article in Bloomberg with more on their story.
Green Sense Farms in Indiana lists some very impressive statistics: 20,000,000 people can benefit from their indoor harvest; 26 harvests per year; 2 tons of Co2 captured each month; 0 pesticides, herbicides, preservatives used; and they use 0.1% of the water, land, and fertilizer of field farming.
Vertical Harvest in Jackson Hole, Wyoming is on board with providing fresh greens year-round for a populace that otherwise is stuck with a very short growing season. They also have plans to increase economic development, improve job growth, and become a nationally recognized business that impacts the environment and community in a positive way.
Sky Greens in Singapore is addressing the need to boost food production in a country where land is scarce. They started out in 2009 and already are enjoying success. They were awarded with the Minister for National Development’s R&D Award in 2011.
For those of you interested in learning more about the business model of vertical farming and possible investment ideas, CNBC posted an informative article on April 2, 2015.
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