Vertical is the new black


The US agriculture company Aerofarms is disrupting traditional supply chains by building vertical farms on major distribution routes and near population centers.

For years, vertical farming appeared as sci-fi food production for the distant future. However, a mix of entrepreneurship, necessity and ingenuity has led to the birth of fully operational stacked farms in an increasing number of places around the world. The Aerofarm headquarters in New Jersey is home to the world’s largest vertical farm. Farming inside means that seasonality – a major challenge to farmers since the advent of agriculture – can be defied. According to Aerofarms, their closed-loop process uses 95% less water than field farmed-food and produces yields 390 times higher per square foot annually. By controlling the environment where the food grows and reducing external threats like insects, Aerofarms avoids the use of pesticides. In an increasingly space constrained world, farming upwards can help to spare precious land. In the case of Aerofarms, the company says it uses less than 1% of the land required by conventional agricultural methods.