The end of the farm as we know it has arrived - here's how we're about to change the way we grow food
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Farming as we know it is about to disappear. The entire disappearance may take generations to happen, and there will always be a few farms out there, a revolution in how we grow our food is taking place and it will change the world as we know it. Yet another vertical farming startup has been funded and it adds momentum to the change.
Farming, with its backbreaking labor and myriad of challenges, is about to become an anachronism. Vertical farming will replace the traditional farm within the next few decades.
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- About 12,000 years ago, give or take, humans, discovered that you could cultivate crops in a field as long as you provided a steady supply of water and worked the field.
Farming requires land and a lot of it. It requires a lot of water. Weeds and infestations of insects are a constant peril. And then there's the weather. Ultimately, there are good years and bad years, and those can be weathered with a little prudence. A Neolithic farmer would instantly recognize a modern farm and know what to do to in a modern field. He might not know much about tractors or herbicides, but the basics would be the same. Plow, plant, water, weed, pray --a lot, and harvest.
That is about to change. In fact, the first vertical farms are already online and producing. And they will eventually change the industry beyond all recognition.
A vertical farm is an indoor operation. Crops are planted in deep trays which can be arranged vertically. Various schemes can be used to provide light, water, and other nutrients to the crops. Pests can't get to these crops as they can in an open field. There are no weeds. A vertical farm can be built anywhere, even in an urban center, reducing transportation costs and delivery delays. It uses much less land, water, and doesn't require pesticides or herbicides. Growing conditions can be monitored and controlled, so it is immune to weather. And the process can be automated, eliminating the need for labor.
The result of a vertical farm is a crop that did not need pesticides or herbicides. It's raised cheaply on small, acreage. It's tall, rather than long and wide. A fresh crop can be harvested and planted each day since the weather isn't a concern.
Cheaper, cleaner, perhaps even more nutritious food is the result. Eventually, vertical farms will become competitive threats to conventional farms, and traditional farmers will have to adapt or be run out of business. In a century, the bucolic farm will be extinct, an anachronism of the past that is poorly understood by future generations.
Skygreens, a vertical farm in Singapore already outproduces conventional farms by a factor between five to ten.
Farmland will go back to wilderness or become parkland, or even new residences for the world's booming population. There will be plenty of food for all.
One week ago, another firm, Bowery, successfully raised 20 million in cash to finance its startup. The company is just one of dozens coming online. The goal of the company is to build vertical farms in urban areas.
The good news is the world's food supply is about to improve over the next decade, in both quantity and quality, and it will come down in price. That means more nourishment for more people.
The changes the world is due to see over the next generation will change the future as dramatically as the development of farming itself.
Experts predict vertical farming will be an industry worth $5.8 billion by 2022.
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