FERRSIBURGH - Half of the world's population may face serious food shortages by 2100 reports a recent study titled, "Historical Warnings of Future Food Insecurity with Unprecedented Seasonal Heat" issued by Stanford University's Program on Food Security and the Environment. While not every scientist agrees with this scenario, it's ceratinly worth considering.
In the coming decades, as global agriculture faces the prospect of changing climate and the challenge of feeding the world's population that is growing annually at about 1.3 percent and projected to double its present level of 6.5 billion by 2063, we clearly need to invest in research and infrastructure solutions that provide food to regions vulnerable to food deficits. The world population is growing, food supply is shrinking, water supplies are becoming more limited, and food production is competing for land with housing and the production of fuel crops. We have to make better use of available land.
Balance between demand and supply of food is sensitive to climate change, fuel demands, access to water and our investments in research and infrastructure. As an agricultural professional with a lifetime investment in the art and science of developing plant life, I have been drawn to finding new, low-cost ways to enhance the propagation of fruits and vegetables to feed the world's people and animals. Vertical farming, which offers a way to conduct larger-scale, vertical agriculture using recycled resources and hydroponics, which is the practice of growing plants without soil, which allows for the production of fruit and vegetables in spaces outside of traditional farms.
Vertical farming is no longer a pie-in-the-sky concept dreamed up by academics in Ivory towers. While the practice of vertical farming is still in its infancy, its future is truly green.
We have entered a new era of urban agriculture where we can deliver locally grown crops that provide a nutritionally superior product that is healthier for the people and animals they serve.
Texas-based VertiCorp pioneered today's vertical farming technological revolution which was further honed and refined in Europe. Other firms are now producing similar vertical systems. Under proper management, the need for pesticides can be eliminated by going vertical.
Plants are grown in a vertical plane in specially designed trays suspended from an overhead track. This allows the trays to rotate on a closed loop conveyor and pass through a feeding station which provides water and nutrients.
An even airflow over the plants with equal exposure to light is achieved with water and nutrient run-off from the feeding station captured and recycled which reduces consumption to as little as 5 percent of the uptake in conventional systems.
Vertical indoor gardening is not only the way for the Third World to go. Now consider this: year-round gardening in enclosed, heated northern climes such as Vermont? Yu can now extend your fresh-vegetable season, even indoor "buy local" farmers markets. The ideas are limitless. There's one sure bet in this brave new world of high-tech agriculture-the next Green Revoltion will be vertical.