Today it is estimated that the world population might rise to 10.5 billion inhabitants by 2050, meaning that we would then need to produce 75% more food. 75% of this population will live in cities, meaning the food will have to travel long distances. Transportation costs energy and money, and produces waste. Our planet surely cannot produce that much more as the resources are limited.
We are already using 90% of the arable land on the planet, we are losing huge amounts of land due to soil depletion every year and since we don’t want to cultivate all parts of the remaining rain forests, we need to seek for solutions.
One solution could be going to urban indoor vertical farming. Wait! It already exists!
In the pictures below you can see the world’s largest indoor vertical farm by the company MIRAI (‘future’ in Japanese) and co-developed by Shigeharu Shimamura. It is in Japan and statistics show its success: It produces 100 times more per square meter, needs 40% less power, there is an 80% less food waste and 99% less water usage than in traditional farming. They shorten the cycle of days and nights using LED lighting, making the plants grow up to two and half times faster. Its versatility creating climate-controlled spaces makes it the perfect solution to address food shortages anywhere in the world.
Taking vertical urban indoor farming efficiency to the next level, the first automated plant in the world is coming to Japan in 2017. It will be staffed entirely by robots and produce 30,000 heads of lettuce daily. ‘Vegetable Factory’ is a project of the Japanese company Spread, where a small army of bots will various seed, water, trim and harvest the lettuce. This new automation technology will not only produce more lettuce but will also reduce labour costs by 50%, cut energy use by 30%, and recycle 98% of water needed to grow the crops.