When most consumers consider vertical farms, they think of grocery store lettuces. They’re not wrong — leafy greens are an excellent crop for a controlled, hydroponic growing setup. But are year-round edible flowers and spring salad mixes enough to disrupt the future of food?
Growing fresh food has traditionally been subject to the elements: location, climate, seasonal conditions, and weather trends are just the start of the challenges that can impact plant health and crop yield.
Indoor, or greenhouse, farming creates a controlled environment to combat troubles like pests and drought. The strategy dates as far back as the Roman Emperor Tiberius, and its latest iteration bears the promise of an efficient “Plantopia” that we’ve yet to truly tap.
Vertical farms grow upwards, engaging with shelf-style structures that tend to operate via hydroponics or aeroponics. Robotics, data analysis, computerized controls, and sophisticated algorithms do the heavy lifting of optimizing every inch of the growing environment — all day long, every day of the year.