Amid a booming world population, technology is helping find more efficient and earth-friendly ways to grow crops.
By Thomas Renner
Living Greens Farm is not your grandfather’s farm. There are no acres to harvest, tractors to fuel and repair, or wagons to haul. The Minnesota business produces an assortment of fresh greens from an indoor farm with environmentally-friendly measures such asless water, less shipping, and fewer herbicides. And less land.
A lot less.
Living Greens Farm is one business joining in the worldwide emergence of vertical farming. In about 4,000 squareyards—the equivalent of one acre—the business extracts thesame quantity of food produced on about 100 acres of conventional agriculture.
With the world population rapidly expanding and the land
required for farming rapidly diminishing, vertical farming is
expected to grow significantly over the next few years. Busi-
ness Wire reported vertical farming values in the United
States are expected to reach $3 billion by 2024, growing at a
compound annual growth rate of 24% through 2024.
“We whole-heartedly believe indoor/vertical farming is
the path forward for agriculture,” said Nate Klingler, Vice
President of Business Development for Living Greens Farm.
“Demand for food is growing, and demand for safe, delicious,
and healthy food is growing at an even faster rate.”
Another factor is playing into the growth of vertical farm-
ing: automation. The growth of the industry coincides per-
fectly with the advent of sophisticated machinery that allows
many farming tasks to be completed with automation. In
2018, an Ohio business broke ground to become the nation’s
first fully-automated vertical farm.
“The majority of vertical farming systems have some kind
HOW THEY DO IT
of automation built into them so they can operate 24/7,”
said Charles Jaskolka of igus, whose company’s products
are included in a traverse system at Living Greens Farms.
“Plants need constant attention and these facilities provide
consistent environmental conditions that optimize grow-
Each vertical farm develops its own science and mechanical equipment for producing crops. Living Greens Farmuses a patented Air Grown vertical system that dramaticallyreduces the need for land, energy, water, and space.
Plant roots remain in the air 99.9% of the time, the company reports, and thrive when spritzed with nutrient-richmist. No soil is needed. “That opens up a lot of possibili
The “Air Grown” vertical system at Living Greens Farm reduces the need for land, energy, water, and space. In about 4,000 square yards, it produces the same quantity of food produced on 100 acres of conventional agriculture.