Discover the Future of Farming



9 Questions

What is vertical farming?

Who proposed the modern concept of vertical farming?

What are the advantages of vertical farming?

What is the predominant growing system used in vertical farming?

What is controlled-environment agriculture (CEA)?

What are the economic challenges faced by vertical farming?

What is aquaponics?

What is aeroponics?

What is the potential of vertical farming?


Vertical Farming: A Summary

  • Vertical farming is the practice of growing crops in vertically stacked layers, often using controlled-environment agriculture and soilless farming techniques such as hydroponics, aquaponics, and aeroponics.
  • The modern concept of vertical farming was proposed in 1999 by Dickson Despommier, professor of Public and Environmental Health at Columbia University.
  • Advantages of vertical farming include increased crop yield per unit area of land, ability to cultivate a larger variety of crops at once, resistance to weather disruptions, and conservation of local flora and fauna.
  • Vertical farming faces economic challenges with large start-up costs compared to traditional farms and large energy demands due to the use of supplementary light like LEDs.
  • Hydroponics is the predominant growing system used in vertical farming, which refers to the technique of growing plants without dirt.
  • Aquaponics takes hydroponics one step further by integrating the production of terrestrial plants with the production of aquatic organisms in a closed-loop system.
  • Aeroponics does not require any liquid or solid medium to grow plants and uses up to 90% less water than the most efficient conventional hydroponic systems.
  • Controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) is the modification of the natural environment to increase crop yield or extend the growing season and is often used in conjunction with soilless farming techniques.
  • Vertical farming can be housed in buildings, shipping containers, tunnels, and abandoned mine shafts.
  • Developers and local governments in multiple cities have expressed interest in establishing a vertical farm, and around US$1.8 billion were invested into startups operating in the sector between 2014 and November 2020.
  • Vertical farming is environmentally responsible by lowering emissions and reducing needed water and is predicted to be an answer to the potential food shortage as the population increases.
  • Vertical farming allows for nearly immediate farm-to-store transport, which would reduce distribution costs and shorten produce travel time.Vertical Farming: Advantages, Challenges, and Potential Solutions


  • Vertical farming can provide fresh produce year-round, even in arctic and sub-arctic areas where traditional farming is impossible.
  • Container-based farms are less susceptible to disruption than long supply chains necessary to deliver traditionally grown produce to remote communities.
  • Vertical farming reduces the amount of farmland, thus saving many natural resources.
  • Producing food indoors reduces or eliminates conventional plowing, planting, and harvesting by farm machinery, protecting soil, and reducing emissions.
  • Vertical farming causes nominal harm to wildlife because of its limited space usage.


  • Vertical farms must overcome the financial challenge of large startup costs, which can exceed $100 million for a 60-hectare vertical farm.
  • In order for vertical farms to be successful financially, high-value crops must be grown since traditional farms provide low-value crops like wheat at cheaper costs than vertical farms.
  • Supplemental light would be required during the growing season, which can make indoor farming prohibitively expensive.
  • Heating and cooling costs of vertical farms can be high, and if not addressed, vertical farms may be an unsustainable alternative to traditional agriculture.
  • For every acre of crops grown via vertical farming, 5.4 acres of solar panels would be required to supply the energy via solar power.

Potential Solutions:

  • Vertical farms can reduce costs by using second-hand, 40-foot shipping containers.
  • Developers can focus on growing high-value crops.
  • Vertical farms can use renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.
  • Research can be conducted to find ways to reduce heating and cooling costs.
  • Vertical farms can use energy-efficient LED lighting to reduce energy consumption.


Test your knowledge of the innovative farming technique known as vertical farming with our quiz! Learn about the advantages, challenges, and potential solutions to this sustainable and environmentally responsible method of food production. From hydroponics to aeroponics, controlled-environment agriculture to container-based farms, see how much you know about the future of farming. Keywords: vertical farming, hydroponics, aeroponics, controlled-environment agriculture, sustainable, food production.

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