Looking to the future, indoor farming can free up rural land for crops that can’t be grown indoors, and for organic and polyculture farming techniques that require more land – thus allowing more outdoor farms to focus on niche produce or convert to organic. Traditional farmers can also focus on local markets where the population density wouldn’t justify a vertical farm.
“Vertical farming is not here to replace greenhouses or replace outdoor farming,” says Ramin Ebrahimnejad, a CEA expert and the vice-chair of the Association for Vertical Farming, “because you can’t. This is a very new industry in its infancy, and it’s just here to supplement both outdoor farms and also greenhouses.”
Even if that weren’t the case, with current population growth estimates (global population reaching
9.7 billion people by 2050, with most of us living in cities), we’ll need to take advantage of every
viable method to grow fresh, healthy food. Vertical farming is just one piece of the puzzle.