A huge vertical farm — where crops are planted, grown and harvested all with neither sun nor soil — is being built in New Jersey. When it’s finished, it will be the largest one in the world. You can see one of the (smaller) existing factories from AeroFarm, on which the new one will be modelled, above in this video from Seeker Stories. Nothing they are doing or planning is really new — people have been growing vegetables indoors under LED lights, minus the soil, for a very long time now. Even the factory spin is nothing new. Japan’s Mirai factory has been doing something similar on a slightly smaller scale for years now. What is interesting here, though, is just how big this place is.
AeroFarm is now constructing a 6500-square-metre farm in an old steel mill. When it’s finished, AeroFarm claims the farm will yield 900,000kg of lettuce and other greens yearly.
But despite occasional proclamations from fans that vertical farming is the future of food, it’s so far remained pretty niche. For vertical farming to really take off, we’ll need to see several of these kinds of successful, large-scale operations able to turn out what they promise — and we’ll need to see them keep doing it on a regular basis. Until then, we’re nowhere near ready to take the fields out of farming.