Agricultura Vertical? Como assim?

Vertical Farming? Like this?

In a world where population growth is projected to pass 11.2 billion by the end of the century, the question arises: how are we going to feed all these people?

The current farming model - food-intensive agriculture - is rapidly deteriorating, becoming obsolete and unsustainable for the planet. This method uses fertilizers, pesticides, plant growth regulators, heavy machinery - often outdated - to be able to produce several crops per year to meet market needs. You might be thinking – but what about greenhouses? Let's get there later.

The problem with this method is – it causes massive damage to the soils it grows in, causing erosion, contamination of underground water tables; is the main driver of mass deforestation - the Cerrado in Brazil's Amazon rainforest loses an area the size of London every 3 months! And that's not to mention other areas that have large chunks of them destroyed daily or excessive water usage that this method requires. The scale is huge!

Another problem is the mega urbanization we see today. We are losing arable land daily, scientists estimate that we have lost 1/3 of arable land in the last 40 years alone. The need to create pastures for livestock and fields of cultivation is so great that, if we continue on the same path, we will end up losing most of the wild areas that still remain on the Planet by 2070.

As you might suspect, innovators have come up with an idea that might be the magical solution to this problem. This possible solution is called vertical farming, as we use it at Gribb.

So what exactly is vertical farming? We'll explain everything below.

As the name suggests, vertical farming is the practice of growing food on vertically inclined surfaces. Rather than growing food on a single level, such as in a field or greenhouse, vertical farming produces food in vertically stacked layers, commonly integrated into other structures such as a skyscraper or any vertical building.

By artificially controlling factors such as temperature, light, humidity and gases, it makes it possible and feasible to produce food indoors.

Okay, you're thinking about greenhouses again, right? Greenhouses use the same valuable asset as intensive agriculture, they use land. Not to mention all the chemicals in pesticides and fertilizers.

The main objective of vertical farming is to produce more food per square meter. Vertical farming is virtually carbon negative, to achieve this, crops are grown in layers stacked in a tower living structure. A perfect combination of natural and artificial lights is used to maintain the perfect light level in the room.

Finally, instead of soil, aeroponic, aquaponic or hydroponic growing media are used. Agricultural residues, manure and other similar non-soil media are very common in vertical farming. The vertical farming method uses several sustainability features to offset the energy cost of farming.

In fact, vertical farming uses 95% less water. Think about it, 95% less water than currently used methods and a higher yield of crops, which are technically able to produce all year round.

Also, did we mention that all crops are organic? Yes, there are no pesticides or artificial fertilizers in vertical farming.

There are certainly drawbacks to this method, nothing can be perfect. The cost of building the structure and massively scaling the technologies used in vertical farming are very high. The cost of training people to operate the systems and run the process is very high.

So, it's the cost of labor, as the pollination of crops needs to be done by humans, as insects do not exist in the controlled environment. In addition, the lack of energy, even for a day, can be a big loss for production.

As you can see, there are many cons to this method. Fortunately, we can find a solution for all of them, as no problem is bigger than the ones we face right now.

We are running out of time and most importantly, we are depleting our planet. The damage caused by intensive farming over centuries is far greater than the cost of buildings, labor, technology and a backup power system!

Currently vertical farming is used in many developed countries like Japan, USA, some EU countries and UK. Unfortunately, it represents a very small percentage of the market right now.

By widely adopting vertical farming, we will be able to solve many problems with one solution. We would be able to almost completely decrease the pollution caused by agriculture now. We would stop deforestation to make room for agriculture, therefore allowing the forest and wildlife to recover and absorb even more greenhouse gases, helping to keep the temperature rise at a steady level.

We would reduce current water use by today's agriculture by 95%. We would be able to produce enough food for the world's population, as well as being able to produce the food that is needed in any particular area of ​​the world, technically being able to eradicate or at least significantly reduce world hunger. We would create jobs, skilled jobs. We would boost economies and literacy levels around the world as this industry would be operated by highly skilled workers in large numbers.

But, first and foremost, we would have the opportunity to reverse the cycle of destruction we've created and preserve our Planet.

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