As our population continues to grow, so does our need for sustainable, technology-based growing solutions. Vertical farming is an indoor growing practice that automates the process of growing food, decreases shipping times, and reduces land usage. The efficiency of an indoor vertical farming system can also lower resource costs and provide more optimal growing conditions than traditional agricultural practices. As a result, the vertical farming and controlled environment agriculture industry is poised for continuing growth.
MJM Install brings more than ten years of experience building innovative indoor growing spaces for our clients. We utilize the latest technology and can integrate CEA systems into your commercial greenhouse or grow room. With full-service project management, reliable installation practices, and nationwide build crews, MJM can give your company the design and build it needs to increase both crop yields and profits.
In this article, we’ll review some of the benefits of vertical farming technology, and discuss why your business should consider investing in this practice. First, let’s cover the basics of how vertical farming works.
How Vertical Farming Works
Vertical farming is a technology-based approach to agriculture that stacks crops together in towers or trestles and reduces square footage. Humidity and temperature controls, as well as advanced irrigation and CO2 dispersal, ensure crops have optimal growing and environmental conditions. Vertical farming accommodates a range of crop types, including many of the fruits, vegetables, and herbs you normally find in a grocery store. This growing strategy is one of the most important CEA farming practices today.
What is CEA?
Controlled environment agriculture, or CEA, is the broader term for indoor growing in a fully isolated environment. CEA systems are disconnected from the outdoor climate entirely and are often automatically regulated with humidity and temperature control technology. Commercial greenhouses and grow rooms that utilize CEA systems are typically the most efficient growing system in terms of energy usage and water consumption. In the long run, they cut growing costs, particularly compared to more traditional, open-air farming techniques and layouts.
Benefits of Vertical Farming
Vertical farming offers many benefits for growers, regardless of crop type, location, and season. Spaces that integrate this technology have customizable features that fit the grower’s requirements and requests. An increase in productivity and a decrease in manual labor costs are just a part of what makes the future of vertical farming so important.
Uses Less Space
Vertical farming offers a more efficient usage of space than traditional agriculture practices. The greenhouse or grow room that houses this system does not require arable land and doesn’t have to be located in an area with a favorable climate for growing. Soil usage within the grow space can also be minimized with the integration of hydroponics, aeroponics, or aquaponics, allowing the grower to plant crops closer together.
Lengthens the Growing Season
Vertical farming (and all forms of controlled environment agriculture let growers plan and harvest their crops year-round, extending the growing season. This means up to three times more harvests in any given year, which can prevent shortages, particularly in areas that are classified as food deserts.
Minimizes Pesticide Usage
Vertical farming spaces are isolated from outdoor climates, which reduces the chances of contamination, disease, or the effects of harmful pests. As a result, crops tend to require less pesticide usage, which can save growers a significant amount of money and reduce the likelihood of contamination.
Increases Energy Efficiency
The technological advancements that come with vertical farming prioritize efficiency and ensure no water goes to waste. LED and HPS grow light bulbs last longer and the space’s automatic temperature control systems account for all the heat produced. By growing with the latest vertical farming infrastructure, you can reduce electricity and water costs and improve your financial agility. With CEA building materials such as insulated metal panels (IMPs) and epoxy floor coatings, clean-up times and maintenance costs will also decrease.
Allows for Urban Growing
The vertical farm’s efficient use of square footage makes it easy to bring the growing and harvesting process to the consumer. It decreases shipping costs and lessens the likelihood of food going bad before it reaches the market. Urban growing increases the distance between livestock facilities and farms, which in turn reduces the likelihood of E. Coli and other foodborne illnesses.
Reduces Climate-Based Effects on Crops
Vertical farming is an agricultural practice you can integrate almost anywhere in the world. The effects of surrounding climate don’t affect how food is produced. The environment within the greenhouse or grow room is also isolated from the outside air, meaning you can grow crops pretty much anywhere– it doesn’t have to be a location where traditional agriculture is a staple of the economy.
Automates Crop Maintenance
It’s simple: vertical farming cuts maintenance costs and saves growers a significant amount of time and money. By leveraging new technologies, such as machine learning, farmers can worry less about their crops and oversee larger operations.
The Increasing Importance of Vertical Farming
As the population continues to grow and the demand for organic food production increases, vertical farming is more important than ever. The efficiency of energy and land usage that comes with this CEA system paves the way for a more sustainable, future-proof system for feeding people around the world. Agricultural scientists are continuing to study what the output of vertical farming and controlled environment agriculture will look like at a larger scale.
Building a Vertical Farming Greenhouse or Grow Room
Building a vertical farming system requires specialized expertise and in-depth project management. Insulated metal wall panels, HPS and LED grow lights, and hydroponic or aeroponic irrigation systems are all key components of the space, regardless of crop type. Epoxy flooring, industrial fans and ventilation systems, and commercial CO2 dispersal technologies are also necessary installations.
Conclusion- What is Vertical Farming?
The design and build professionals at MJM Install have the knowledge, insights, and industry experience necessary for controlled environment agriculture. With transparent pricing and budgeting, nationwide build crews, and connections with the industry’s best building material vendors, MJM delivers an unparalleled level of service and dedication to the future of your business. Contact our team today to schedule a CEA greenhouse design consultation.