Touch the Soil News #287
While most folks wait for spring to start gardening, a small number of people – often with significant financial backing – are entering the arena of controlled environment farming.
Farming inside is not simple. One must buy buildings, retrofit the interiors, use expensive high-tech lighting, labor, get the right environmental management and on and on. Let’s just say a million dollars does not go far if you want to commercialize and produce in volume.
What the controlled environment farming entrepreneurs are betting on is increasing demand for:
- Food that is grown consistently
- Food that is grown locally
- Food that can be grown year-round
- Food that can be grown without pesticides and organically
Dr. Howard M. Resch displays greenhouse hydroponics produce
While the cost for farming vertically indoors in a controlled environment is high, there are factors that controlled environment farmers are hoping will lower costs and get them in the black. These things include:
- Growing set-ups that are conducive to robotics – limiting labor costs
- Science and technology will continue to deliver better grow lights at cheaper costs
- Minimizing water use thus minimizing costs
- Locating facilities close to large urban centers for volume selling and low shipping costs
- Being able to grow 24/7 – which allows harvesting two to four times more often than from fields
A recent report from Winter Green Research predicts that what was a $400 million market for indoor farming produce in 2013, will grow to almost $2 billion by 2020. Another report by Markets and Markets estimates indoor farming will reach $3.88 billion by 2020.
Following are three different video clips on indoor and vertical farming that seeks to change our food landscape: