As the globe's population increases, so does the need for food. This has ultimately led to farms and agriculture specialists rethinking the way they grow and harvested crops. An innovation many farming startups are leading with is vertical farming - but what exactly is it, and how could it benefit us?
Vertical Farming in Brief
Vertical farming is often referred to as indoor farming. It's called vertical farming, as it usually involves building racks of produce stacked in vertical pillars. Farmers can then attend to them with interior lighting and technology to help stimulate growth.
Essentially, it is a niche that moves food growing away from the random nature of weather. It also helps farmers protect their produce from pests and soil problems. Vertical farming provides a great deal of control over a process that has been at the mercy of mother nature for centuries.
What's more, this is a market that's on the grow. In 2019, the vertical farming sphere was worth around $4.4 billion globally. By 2025, estimates show the niche will expand to more than $15.7 billion. The argument is that this arises as the population grows. However, technology is also evolving, and innovators are helping to make such solutions more readily available.
Not only that but there are also plenty of vertical farmers out there producing and shipping greens across the US.
Vertical Farming Startups Changing the Industry
As you may expect, many startups are working to help make vertical farming more efficient and more sustainable. Could it replace traditional farming full-time? Time will tell.
One of the biggest names in sustainable vertical farming is Bowery Farming, based in New Jersey. The company, worth more than $172 million, grows vegetables without soil and with 95% less water. The company operates multiple warehouses with produce shipping across the states.
Plenty, meanwhile, is a San Francisco firm that's partnered with Safeway. Their focus is on preserving the flavor in farm-grown vegetables and produce while reducing pesticides. Beyond the Bay, Plenty even has its own R&D center based in Wyoming. It's also in the process of launching an enormous indoor farm down in Compton, CA.
AeroFarms is considered one of the biggest names in vertical or indoor farming bar none. Using aeroponics - which allows farmers to grow vegetation via air - has reduced water usage. Impressively, it's amassed more than $138 million in funding in recent years. The company has been leading the sustainable farming revolution since 2004 - a genuine trailblazer.
What Will This Mean for Food and Farming?
Vertical farming take-up will likely mean more food for more people - on a more sustainable basis. This means less water and soil used to grow our crops. That, ultimately, will lead to less reliance on the environment at large, too!
The Fundz database shares a variety of real-time data on startups emerging in agritech and more. For research and potential opportunities, now is the time to take a deeper dive.