Two Thoughts on Vertical Farming

I’ve long been fascinated with vertical farming, well before the innovation made headlines in Camden, New Jersey. It is an amazing blend of the most basic structure of human life (food) and the latest in software and LED technology. The result: 130 times more yielded produce per square foot than the average farm.

That is insane!

With this insane progress, though, I do have two thoughts:

First, Vertical Farming could completely change the pace of food insecurity in the United States. Now, to be fair, I do not exactly know how to comprehend ‘130 times more yielded produce per square foot’. But, I can throw out an educated guess which would suggest that this new industry has the potential to pump out more than enough food, perhaps faster than Americans could consume, if of course we ate more healthy greens and veggies…

State and federal governments would be wise to really consider investing in vertical farming by way of grants, or perhaps seeking non-profit vertical farmers, who could produce food, and fast, in areas where food insecurity is high.

It is important to make a quick note here, before proceeding. A lot of people in the United States may not seem to care much about people who can’t make end’s meet, and the idea of providing government grants for mass producing free food is likely to be, well, very unpopular in Trump’s America right now. But I urge all spectrums of our nation’s confusing political landscape to really analyze vertical farming, and the overwhelming efficiency of the industry. Vertical farming poses to be so efficient to the point of being wasteful. Why not capitalize on fast-growing produce to help people who are hungry, especially if there is a high rate of waste?

My second thought asks Americans, including myself, to really consider some caution before completely falling in love with vertical farming. It is not too often that we witness the creation of such an innovation. Most innovations of this potential catch on like wildfire.

And that is exactly what I’m worried about with vertical farming. This will likely be an example in which the industry speeds far beyond public policy. Not sure where I’m going here? Alright, let’s try with questions. What will happen to the thousands of acres of traditional farms throughout the United States when they cannot possibly keep up with a few hundred vertical farms, which out-grow crops 130 times per square foot? How will the less-populated states, where most of America’s farming happens, adjust to what could be a sweeping wave of unemployment?

How will policymakers preserve open space while richer corporations seek to buy what once were large farms for cheap? This last question is also for residents to consider.

Even though vertical farming is showing undeniable results for changing farming altogether, we should try our best to use this newfound innovation intelligently so that the few do not continue the trend of pushing down the masses. Even though vertical farming can produce way more food than traditional farming, it could be an industry which impoverishes more than it feeds. Food may finally move towards a socialist commodity in the United States, rather than the capitalist product it currently is.

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