Research and technology related to vertical farming is growing. Darrel Kesler, Dean of Technology at Ivy Tech in Fort Wayne, said there was a vertical farming industry that started long ago in Chicago, which eventually failed.
“The number one reason they failed was a lack of talent. To prevent this from happening again, we took the initiative of developing a curriculum, a program, where we can train students to go into this industry thus allowing industry itself to develop in Indiana.”
At the First Farmers Bank and Trust Ag Summit, Kesler explained how vertical farming works and the advantages.
“We can stack in very low trays, and go straight up in the air, and produce a huge quantity of vegetables in a very short time, producing anywhere from 200 to 500 times more produce per land mass by doing vertical farming.”
Kesler said we should really see this as an opportunity for agriculture growth in Indiana. “The industry in Indiana does not farm those vegetables that typically grow in a vertical farming or controlled agriculture environment. Therefore, as far as adding to agriculture, it is a complete solid addition.”
He pointed out that "farmers in the Southwest United States will not like this endeavor at all, because it will disrupt what they’ve been doing for years. Vegetables with higher nutrient quality and better taste will come from these vertical farms".
“Long transport time deteriorates the quality of the produce. These farmers even select hybrids, or variants, that actually can survive long travel. They’re not the best tasting produce.”, the Dean concluded.