Some of you may remember that I published my MSc dissertation on Vertical Farms on Impatient Foodie a few months ago. At the time that was researching and writing it (2009-2010), Vertical Farms didn’t exist and many people I spoke to said they probably never would. Why? Because they were not financially, or even at the time technically, viable. Well, what a difference six years makes! Vertical Farms are now popping up all over the world, from Japan to Jersey! And they’re not only getting money to grow and flourish, they’re actually making money by producing greens at a mass scale and selling them to consumers like kale, mustard greens, arugula, and more. Unlike traditional farms, Vertical Farms can have their products – from seed to store – in just a matter of days, as opposed to months. They’re also price competitive. This represents a huge shift in agriculture and food production: Humans can now grow food indoors on a mass scale, in completely human controlled environments, with up to 95% less water, and with no pesticides. With companies like AeroFarms, that I went to visit in this video, we are witnessing the beginnings of “Food 3.0”. It’s not just a question of organic versus GMO anymore! We’re looking at a food future where the traditional farm as we know it could have an entirely different role and place in society, in politics, in our economies, in our culture, and beyond. So, the next time someone tries to rope you into a conversation or argument about organic vs GMO, just say to them, “Ugh, that is so 2000!”
I’m kind of kidding… but not entirely.
If, like me, you have ever stayed up at night staring at the ceiling fretting about how this planet is going to feed the growing population in the face of a changing climate, ocean acidification, less water, more desertification, etc, then this video is for you. Welcome to Episode One of Food Futures: this show that will dig deep into questions like, “How the hell are we going to feed the world even just 20 years from now? What role will technology play? What choices do we face as societies in this transition?”
As I mentioned, Episode One looks at AeroFarms, a large-scale, indoor, hydroponic vertical-farming system that uses 95% less water than traditional farming and can pump out huge volumes of (organic and pesticide-free) food in 16-day cycles. What role will Vertical Farms have in our food supply in coming years? How does it work? Who benefits and who doesn’t? Check out the video and be sure to let me know what you think in the comments or on my social channels (@impatientfoodie on Instagram, Impatient Foodie on FB, and @Elettra@ on Twitter).