A recent study suggested that indoor farming can help save water and soil. Moreover, when the COVID-19 pandemic exposed long-ignored food supply chain issues, including but not limited to shipment delays and inadequate demand forecasting, indoor farms and vertical farms contributed to the solution. A number of controlled-environment farming companies, including AeroFarms, Elevate Farms, Plenty, Freight Farms and BrightFarms received generous investments in 2020. Most companies started by growing kale and other leafy greens, but recently they’ve started farming strawberries and tomatoes. What’s next for the industry?
Many indoor farms already use computers, drones, AI and even robots to make work more efficient. Like other industries, it is likely that the controlled farming industry will rely on modern technology even more in 2021. More relevant software will be developed to calculate the optimal watering times, room temperature and lighting for each specific plant type. Some software even provides an accounting app, a plant care advice app and a profit forecasting app rolled into one.
Grow Your Own Food
The popularity of indoor farms may result in another interesting development: individuals setting up mini-farms at home. Having a small vertical farm can both be a hobby and also slightly reduce one’s reliance on supermarkets and delivery services.
According to Mashable, seed delivery services have seen sales increase tenfold during the lockdown. Supermarkets like Walmart reported selling out of seeds. With LED lighting and an abundance of useful information available, even those without a green thumb should be able to grow herbs and vegetables.
More Plants & Veggie Types
Greens like kale, chard, lettuce, mint and basil seem to thrive in vertical farms. Brussels sprouts, corn and sunflowers are also thought to be perfect candidates for vertical farming since they naturally grow vertically and don’t require support. Some farms in the UK are experimenting with tropical fruit.
What else? Partnerships with grocery stores and delivery companies, affordable start-your-own-garden kits and subscriptions, using abandoned malls and storage facilities for farms and more!