The Future of Farming

April 13th, 2011 | Simcha Weinstein | Comments Off on The Future of Farming

By the year 2050, nearly 80% of the earth’s population will live in urban areas, and by even the most conservative estimates the human population will increase by about 3 billion people during this time. The amount of new farmland needed to grow enough food to feed these new folks, if traditional farming practices continue as they are practiced today, is simply staggering. At present, throughout the world, over 80% of the land that is suitable for raising crops is in use.

More and more agricultural and land usage experts are examining the concept of indoor farming as a way to accommodate another 3 billion people. One approach that has been getting a fair amount of attention is Vertical Farming. Vertical farms, which can run several stories high, are intended to be located in the downtown areas of major cities, where now 60% of our population lives. If successfully implemented, they offer the promise of urban renewal, sustainable production of a safe and varied food supply (year-round crop production), and the eventual repair of ecosystems that have been sacrificed for horizontal farming.

If you click here, there is an excellent read in the Chicago Tribune about turning a former meatpacking plant on the edge of Chicago’s old Union Stockyards into an indoor farm. It’s just one example of the type of alternative agricultural system we might expect to see over the next 50 years as our population grows and the available land for farming diminishes.