Urban Agriculture; Our Future of Food

What do Plenty, Square Roots and Hawthorne have in common? The answer is; they have a shared vision to better feed the world. But, this is not traditional farming that they have in mind. Instead, it’s more about urban agriculture using indoor growing equipment in the grow room setup. Or, that indoor grow room can be in the form of a four-season greenhouse. Either way, the concept is the same. They are all about grow room design efficiency, grow equipment optimization, local grow setups and better food availability.  And, how we all benefit is we then have more food security along with fresher, more locally sourced produce.

Vertically growing food - the next frontier

70% increase in food production by 2050 will need smart farming

Urban agriculture is an indoor grow system business that is growing in the US, Canada, and Europe. And beyond that, there is an even bigger picture to keep in mind … demand. According to Agritecture’s Farm2050, we should see a 70% increase in food production by 2050. And, these trends favor urban agriculture. Kimball Musk of Square Roots put it this way when he said “Food is the new Internet”. There is some truth there, and we see it as smarter farming, whether in an actual urban setting or not.

Urban agriculture is all about efficiency of space, water, and yield

So what does this urban agriculture style of farming look like? Efficiency of space and efficiency of water, plus efficiency of yield with year-round growing are the common descriptive traits. Indoor grow systems with hydroponic lighting use about 1/10th the space and 1/10th the water compared to traditional farming. Then, with vertical indoor grow setups; we can do even better for both those indoor grow room savings.

The photo above is of a Plenty / Bright Agrotech vertical growing system using LightRail light movers. These vertical growing systems are hugely efficient for maximizing grow equipment space. And, because they grow year-round, the grow lights are efficient to start and then made 30% more efficient by moving them on grow light movers. we can use a  LightRail 3.5 Kit, a  LightRail 4.0 Kit or even a  LightRail 5.0 Kit for heavier banks of grow lights. And, LightRail can be in the  greenhouse setting, using greenhouse lights just to add a few extra hours of sunlight each day makes a huge difference for yield numbers. These are all efficiency details that are a part of the urban agriculture style of farming. To add to this, there is the overall efficiency of tightly rotated crops, and that is for all four seasons.

Farm to table can be your farm to your table

Urban agriculture is also part of the farm to table trend in restaurants everywhere. It’s all about freshness. And, of course, farm to table can be your farm to your table, just as easily. There is nothing like freshly picked produce both for taste and for nutritional value. And, that is in stark contrast to typical supermarket offerings. Grocery stores typically take multiple days to ship produce across the country or even longer from other countries. By the time it finally gets placed in the produce section, it is likely long past its prime.

Tightly rotated crops

Urban agriculture and commercial urban farming are now a substantial part of our overall agricultural landscape. And, this will all play an even larger role for the future of food. It’s all about grow room design efficiency and the optimization of our grow equipment. And, it’s about the overall efficiency of tightly rotated crops, and that’s year round.

We’re basically taking the 12,000-year-old history of agriculture and improving it tenfold in what is a very short period of time. It’s revolutionary for sure, and extremely exciting. So, urban agriculture can be in the form of commercial urban farming. Or, it can be in the form of our own personal grow room setup or four season greenhouse. What matters is each urban agriculture style farm is visionary in its own right. It’s one indoor grow room or greenhouse farm at a time and each changing the way we grow for the better.