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Raising Food – Indoors or Outdoors?

Touch the Soil News #639

Over the past few years, the concept of indoor/vertical farming has taken root. They are in old warehouses with growing trays stacked 30 to 40 feet high, in recycled freight containers and specially retrofitted greenhouses.

Whatever the configuration, it comes down to what is called CEA – controlled environment agriculture. So far, the consensus is that indoor CEA farming is expensive – often times more expensive than farming in the field outdoors. The cost of indoor farming includes expensive inputs such as the building, energy, infrastructure for water distribution and lighting.

Despite the cost of indoor farming, pioneers are working the pieces to make it work. Being located close to where it is consumed and lower water costs are a couple of areas that hold promise.

PBS recently put out a short video on indoor farming that helps explain the pieces and the issues. It is quite informative:

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