Traditional farming is known to be done in rural areas more so by rural smallholder farmers whose farm sizes are in little fragments. With the advent of technology, farming activities can be conveniently carried out in the cities; vertical farms are springing up using hydroponics in well controlled indoor environment to produce vegetables in the city and for the city.
In Philadelphia, Metropolis farms is building a first Solar powered indoor farm that will utilize the power of the sun to grow crops. Traditionally crops use light from the sun by converting it to chemical energy, here the rays from the sun will be converted to megawatt of energy which will be used to power the vertical farm.
The vertical farm is being constructed on the fourth floor of a building carrying a massive 100,000 sq foot collection of 2,003 solar panels. The energy converted from these panels will be used to power a farm that will grow crops equivalent to 660 acres of farmland on 100,000 sq feet annually. This technology equates to growing more with less space.
The solar powered indoor farm which was only growing pigeons will be used to grow fresh tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli, lettuce and other crops, presently all the solar panels have been installed and turned on while the construction of the farm on-going. According to a blog post on the metropolis farm website, the first set of crops will be grown in November.
With the increase in population, climate change, an ever increasing pressure on the farm land and the absence of farm land in certain countries, vertical farming is taking centre stage. In Germany a supermarket has installed a farm within its store to supply fresh vegetables. Infarm, a Berlin based indoor farm set up a vertical farm inside Metro supermarket with the aim of producing fresh vegetables grown locally throughout the year.
“To this point, the city of Philadelphia has only ~8 acres of urban farming, mainly because there’s no available land for growing crops traditionally. By bringing the growing process indoors, in line with our mission of social responsibility, we are revitalizing abandoned spaces like the one pictured above, and are using them for local food production. We are empowering a new generation of farmers to grow food for cities, in cities”.
Indoor farms seem to be the next evolution in agriculture, hydroponics technology allows for maximization of space and growing crops in well controlled environment without soil, sunlight, wind nor rain. It also helps to minimize waste and energy use. “Through energy saving advancements we’ve pioneered in vertical farming technology, these solar panels will provide a sufficient amount of energy to power the farm below; which is game-changing in the world of vertical farming”
Indoor farming technology is changing how we grow food regardless of the location or climate and if given adequate attention, it can help in presenting them in fresh forms, increase local food production within communities and ultimately stimulating the economy.