Vertical farming practiced on a large scale in urban centers has great potential to: 1. supply enough food in a sustainable fashion to comfortably feed all of humankind for the foreseeable future; 2. allow large tracts of land to revert to the natural landscape restoring ecosystem functions and services; 3. safely and efficiently use the organic portion of human and agricultural waste to produce energy through methane generation, and at the same time significantly reduce populations of vermin (e.g., rats, cockroaches); 4. remediate black water creating a much needed new strategy for the conservation of drinking water; 5. take advantage of abandoned and unused urban spaces; 6. break the transmission cycle of agents of disease associated with a fecally-contaminated environment; 7. allow year-round food production without loss of yields due to climate change or weather-related events; 8. eliminate the need for large-scale use of pesticides and herbicides; 9. provide a major new role for agrochemical industries (i.e., designing and producing safe, chemically-defined diets for a wide variety of commercially viable plant species; 10. create an environment that encourages sustainable urban life, promoting a state of good health for all those who choose to live in cities.
Humans are now up against a myriad of new demanding issues that are leading dramatic change to our global lifestyles: climate change, hazardous infectious diseases, increasing urbanization, and the depletion of natural resource deposits. Hydroponic farming has strong potential to mitigate the threats these issues pose to our agricultural system. Growing crops in near optimal conditions using controlled environment agriculture (CEA) technology is one of the biggest benefits of hydroponic farming. Crops grown indoors and hydroponically can be grown anywhere on earth at any time of the year, regardless of weather conditions, availability of cultivable land, or soil quality. Hydroponic farming has the potential to provide fresh, local food for areas with extreme droughts and low soil quality, such as in sub-Saharan Africa where access to leafy green vegetables is often limited.
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