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WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

Pesticide free farming that yields 75 times more produce that a traditional farm, is this the future of farming?

 

A 21,000 square metre vertical farm, capable of growing a million kilograms of pesticide free produce a year will open in Newark, New Jersey later this year.

 

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Made out of an old steel factory, the farm can produce 75 times more food than a traditional farm of a similar size with the added bonus that it requires far fewer resources and chemicals to operate – furthermore because it is located next to its target market the distance that the food has to travel from “farm to plate” is reduced by up to as much as 99%.

 

 

Built by AeroFarms, a US based company intent on creating more environmentally friendly farming solutions, the facility is soil free, uses 95 percent less water than traditional farms and, because it’s pesticide free it doesn’t cause any harmful run off to the environment surrounding it. The farm also uses recyclable materials, and a lighting system that conserves energy by facilitating more efficient photosynthesis.

 

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“Plants rooted in reusable microfleece cloth and stacked in modular planters will be sprayed by a nutrient mist and illuminated by LED lights. We’re targeting specific wavelengths of light for more efficient photosynthesis and less energy consumption. LEDs can also be placed much closer to the plants, enabling greater vertical growing for even greater productivity per square foot,” said AeroFarms.

The farm will also use an “Aeroponic Mist”, which is packed with nutrients and oxygen so the plants don’t suffer from being indoors all the time. This mist has all the nutrients of soil, except the plants don’t need to fish through the waste to get at them, so the theory is that they’ll grow more robust more quickly.

Furthermore, AeroFarms says it can achieve a full crop cycle – that’s seed to harvest, in just 16 days. The farm’s been tipped to open this year, so we’ll soon see if it lives up to its promises. And in a world where traditional farming is struggling to keep pace with our growing global population while at the same time trying to tackle growing concerns about pollution and climate change vertical farms look like an increasingly attractive alternative.

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the World Futures Forum and the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series. Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, CNBC, Discovery, RT, and Viacom, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring Lunar XPrize teams, re-envisioning global education and training with the G20, and helping the world’s largest organisations envision and ideate the future of their products and services, industries, and countries. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Bain & Co, BCG, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, E&Y, GEMS, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lego, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, T-Mobile, and many more.

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