With the increasing demand for agricultural products, it has become necessary to practice alternative methods for bringing up the supply levels. It has to be taken into consideration that land simply cannot be cleared off to make space for more farms. With this in mind, the technique of vertical farming proves to be beneficial. To explain this further, vertical farming is a technique in which plant cultivation will take place inside skyscraper greenhouses. A specific environment is created using solar or wind turbine energy which is suitable to the plant growth. Furthermore, this type of farming can be done year-round.
The Vertical Farming Accelerator called Square Roots
In order to take this technique further into the agricultural market, entrepreneur Kimbal Musk along with Tobias Peggs is planning to launch a new urban farming incubator program, called Square Roots. Under this program, vertical farming will take place in the Pfizer factory situated in Brooklyn, New York. These vertical farms will be created inside 10 steel containers 320-square-foot each. Each of these containers will be managed by a young agricultural entrepreneur for one year. These entrepreneurs will be given hands-on training in running a vertical farm business by Square Roots. They will have full access to their respective farms at any time they want. In this case, the entrepreneurs can choose to grow anything they like. The entrepreneurs who are interested are supposed to pitch their start-up concept in front of Square Roots.
Such containers will contain rows of organic herbs and these plants will be monitored for watering and proper nutrient content. Due to constant monitoring, many plant diseases and spoilage could be discovered before it starts spreading further. Such farms are located in or around the city. Due to this, the consumer will acquire fresh food products which are a major benefit of vertical farming. The technology used will be developed by vertical farming start-ups Freight Farms and ZipGrow. The plants grown in such containers will be rooted in water instead of soil and cultivated under LED lights. The team of experts has decided to grow green crops inside these containers. This is because such crops are small enough for the entrepreneurs to understand vertical farming thoroughly. One such container is efficient enough to grow crops equivalent to 2 acres of farmland.
Benefits of Vertical Farming
Musk and Peggs strongly believe that urban farming has a number of advantages over traditional farming. Significantly, vertical farms expend 80% less water than outdoor farms and require much less space. On the other hand, Square Roots aims to help young farmers understand this technology better so that it can be implemented efficiently. Such entrepreneurs will be trained under the best mentors provided by Square Roots. The most important advantage of vertical farming is that it’s healthier than the products of industrial farming. The food produced through industrial farming is high-calorie, low nutrient and processed thousands of miles away. Whereas vertical farming does not compromise with the nutritional value.
Kimbal Musk and his ventures within the Agricultural Industry
Kimbal Musk is an American entrepreneur, known for his investments in several technology and food companies. He is an environmentalist who has introduced technological ideas which help in the sustainable growth of society. Musk co-founded The Kitchen which is a chain of restaurants which stocks up its food sources from local farmers. He has also co-founded a venture called The Kitchen Community, which is a non-profit organization. The Kitchen Community builds learning garden in schools around the USA. This organization has already planted vegetable gardens at more than 200 schools nationwide.
The technique of vertical farming is a progressive step towards the sustainable development on a global scale. As this technique requires minimum resources, it gives an output as good as the traditional farming method. Also, it helps in solving the problem of cutting down vegetation to meet the increasing demand of food.