Urban Agriculture in the Wake of the Pandemic: Does vertical farming hold the answer?

Urban Agriculture in the Wake of the Pandemic: Does vertical farming hold the answer?

By
Nicola Spalding
February 25, 2021

Urban Agriculture in the Wake of the Pandemic

 

🥬What: The Singapore government is launching a $45M agritech fund to boost urban food production in the city-state, after awarding a grant of $29.3M to nine urban farms in September. Inspiring? We think so. It’s a forward-thinking approach, centred around self-sufficiency and sustainability, something which is at the forefront of our minds in the wake of the pandemic. 

🤷Why: Diversifying where and how we grow our food helps spread the risk of disruption to food supplies. Relying on imports is a tricky business as many things could disrupt the supply chain, such as climate change-induced water scarcity or harvest labour shortages, not to mention politics (cheers, Brexit).

 

👍The benefits: More than half of the global population lives in urban areas, and this is expected to rise to 68% by 2050. Growing food where people live would seem to be an obvious solution. Reducing transport costs and environmental impact, cutting down on waste due to travel time, potentially altering the supply chain from one which artificially ripens produce in travel containers to one which harvests and distributes food when it’s ready to eat. But towns and cities are crowded, so solutions need to be small and mighty.

 

🚜 Does vertical farming hold the answer?

Vertical crops are more resilient to extreme weather, and indoor growing environments are easier to control than those in the field. Seeds used can be optimised for flavour instead of insect or weather resistance. Farmers can control the elements (literally: humidity, temperature and lighting) to optimise yield and shorten crop cycles in a way that is impossible in conventional agriculture.

 

👀 Here are some big players making green:

  • Little Leaf Farms closed $90M just last week to expand its network of hydroponic greenhouses, which supply a small radius of consumers to preserve freshness and reduce waste.
  • Plenty Unlimited banked another $140M in October, bringing its total to $500M, to build more of its space-saving vertical farms around the US. 
  • Revol Greens closed $68M in September, bringing its total to $215M, and became the world’s largest indoor lettuce producer, revolutionising the $20Bn salad industry, which has been struggling with environmental challenges.
  • Infarm raised $170M series C funding in September. Its farms can deliver a crop equivalent to an acre of fresh produce in just 25m2 footprint.
  • Bowery Farming has raised $167.5M to date to grow produce year-round without pesticides, with 95% less water than a conventional farm.
  • Gardyn secured $10M earlier this month to accelerate the North American expansion of its consumer-grade vertical farm, which can grow up to 30 plants at once and easily fits inside a small apartment.
  • SweGreen secured $1M in November to further develop its platform for AI-driven vertical farming, aimed at enhancing local and sustainable food production systems in urban environments.

💸Backers: Clearly, it’s something to think about. And not just in Singapore; Belgium-based venture capital firm Astanor Ventures announced in November the launch of its $325m fund dedicated to agriculture and food, Europe’s largest fund of its kind to date, to support futuristic food production solutions. Plus, Kimbal Musk has got behind the trend, with his own urban farming company, Square Roots.
 

💡Takeaway: There are high start-up costs and energy bills for this type of farming, but solar power and wind power can help to reduce a vertical farm’s energy footprint, and its water bill is significantly lower than a conventional farm. Reducing complexity in the food supply chain and bringing it closer to consumers can only be a positive change. Plus, there is something to be said for the fact that access to better produce may help to change attitudes towards food, making consumers place more value in food that is sustainably produced and locally-grown.


🧠Want to know more? We covered the topic of how vertical farms are aiming high over on FoodHack+ a little while back. Plus, this really cool video by Bowery Farming shows the process in greater detail. It highlights that its produce is ‘untouched’ by humans, a really interesting concept anyway but especially in pandemic times when ‘contactless’ is not just desirable, but a strategy.

Become a FoodHack+ member to get unlimited access

  • Access premium publications
  • Get listed on our directory
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Urban Agriculture in the Wake of the Pandemic

 

🥬What: The Singapore government is launching a $45M agritech fund to boost urban food production in the city-state, after awarding a grant of $29.3M to nine urban farms in September. Inspiring? We think so. It’s a forward-thinking approach, centred around self-sufficiency and sustainability, something which is at the forefront of our minds in the wake of the pandemic. 

🤷Why: Diversifying where and how we grow our food helps spread the risk of disruption to food supplies. Relying on imports is a tricky business as many things could disrupt the supply chain, such as climate change-induced water scarcity or harvest labour shortages, not to mention politics (cheers, Brexit).

 

👍The benefits: More than half of the global population lives in urban areas, and this is expected to rise to 68% by 2050. Growing food where people live would seem to be an obvious solution. Reducing transport costs and environmental impact, cutting down on waste due to travel time, potentially altering the supply chain from one which artificially ripens produce in travel containers to one which harvests and distributes food when it’s ready to eat. But towns and cities are crowded, so solutions need to be small and mighty.

 

🚜 Does vertical farming hold the answer?

Vertical crops are more resilient to extreme weather, and indoor growing environments are easier to control than those in the field. Seeds used can be optimised for flavour instead of insect or weather resistance. Farmers can control the elements (literally: humidity, temperature and lighting) to optimise yield and shorten crop cycles in a way that is impossible in conventional agriculture.

 

👀 Here are some big players making green:

  • Little Leaf Farms closed $90M just last week to expand its network of hydroponic greenhouses, which supply a small radius of consumers to preserve freshness and reduce waste.
  • Plenty Unlimited banked another $140M in October, bringing its total to $500M, to build more of its space-saving vertical farms around the US. 
  • Revol Greens closed $68M in September, bringing its total to $215M, and became the world’s largest indoor lettuce producer, revolutionising the $20Bn salad industry, which has been struggling with environmental challenges.
  • Infarm raised $170M series C funding in September. Its farms can deliver a crop equivalent to an acre of fresh produce in just 25m2 footprint.
  • Bowery Farming has raised $167.5M to date to grow produce year-round without pesticides, with 95% less water than a conventional farm.
  • Gardyn secured $10M earlier this month to accelerate the North American expansion of its consumer-grade vertical farm, which can grow up to 30 plants at once and easily fits inside a small apartment.
  • SweGreen secured $1M in November to further develop its platform for AI-driven vertical farming, aimed at enhancing local and sustainable food production systems in urban environments.

💸Backers: Clearly, it’s something to think about. And not just in Singapore; Belgium-based venture capital firm Astanor Ventures announced in November the launch of its $325m fund dedicated to agriculture and food, Europe’s largest fund of its kind to date, to support futuristic food production solutions. Plus, Kimbal Musk has got behind the trend, with his own urban farming company, Square Roots.
 

💡Takeaway: There are high start-up costs and energy bills for this type of farming, but solar power and wind power can help to reduce a vertical farm’s energy footprint, and its water bill is significantly lower than a conventional farm. Reducing complexity in the food supply chain and bringing it closer to consumers can only be a positive change. Plus, there is something to be said for the fact that access to better produce may help to change attitudes towards food, making consumers place more value in food that is sustainably produced and locally-grown.


🧠Want to know more? We covered the topic of how vertical farms are aiming high over on FoodHack+ a little while back. Plus, this really cool video by Bowery Farming shows the process in greater detail. It highlights that its produce is ‘untouched’ by humans, a really interesting concept anyway but especially in pandemic times when ‘contactless’ is not just desirable, but a strategy.

Become a FoodHack+ member to get unlimited access

  • Access premium publications
  • Get listed on our directory
  • Join a Global Community

Urban Agriculture in the Wake of the Pandemic

 

🥬What: The Singapore government is launching a $45M agritech fund to boost urban food production in the city-state, after awarding a grant of $29.3M to nine urban farms in September. Inspiring? We think so. It’s a forward-thinking approach, centred around self-sufficiency and sustainability, something which is at the forefront of our minds in the wake of the pandemic. 

🤷Why: Diversifying where and how we grow our food helps spread the risk of disruption to food supplies. Relying on imports is a tricky business as many things could disrupt the supply chain, such as climate change-induced water scarcity or harvest labour shortages, not to mention politics (cheers, Brexit).

 

👍The benefits: More than half of the global population lives in urban areas, and this is expected to rise to 68% by 2050. Growing food where people live would seem to be an obvious solution. Reducing transport costs and environmental impact, cutting down on waste due to travel time, potentially altering the supply chain from one which artificially ripens produce in travel containers to one which harvests and distributes food when it’s ready to eat. But towns and cities are crowded, so solutions need to be small and mighty.

 

🚜 Does vertical farming hold the answer?

Vertical crops are more resilient to extreme weather, and indoor growing environments are easier to control than those in the field. Seeds used can be optimised for flavour instead of insect or weather resistance. Farmers can control the elements (literally: humidity, temperature and lighting) to optimise yield and shorten crop cycles in a way that is impossible in conventional agriculture.

 

👀 Here are some big players making green:

  • Little Leaf Farms closed $90M just last week to expand its network of hydroponic greenhouses, which supply a small radius of consumers to preserve freshness and reduce waste.
  • Plenty Unlimited banked another $140M in October, bringing its total to $500M, to build more of its space-saving vertical farms around the US. 
  • Revol Greens closed $68M in September, bringing its total to $215M, and became the world’s largest indoor lettuce producer, revolutionising the $20Bn salad industry, which has been struggling with environmental challenges.
  • Infarm raised $170M series C funding in September. Its farms can deliver a crop equivalent to an acre of fresh produce in just 25m2 footprint.
  • Bowery Farming has raised $167.5M to date to grow produce year-round without pesticides, with 95% less water than a conventional farm.
  • Gardyn secured $10M earlier this month to accelerate the North American expansion of its consumer-grade vertical farm, which can grow up to 30 plants at once and easily fits inside a small apartment.
  • SweGreen secured $1M in November to further develop its platform for AI-driven vertical farming, aimed at enhancing local and sustainable food production systems in urban environments.

💸Backers: Clearly, it’s something to think about. And not just in Singapore; Belgium-based venture capital firm Astanor Ventures announced in November the launch of its $325m fund dedicated to agriculture and food, Europe’s largest fund of its kind to date, to support futuristic food production solutions. Plus, Kimbal Musk has got behind the trend, with his own urban farming company, Square Roots.
 

💡Takeaway: There are high start-up costs and energy bills for this type of farming, but solar power and wind power can help to reduce a vertical farm’s energy footprint, and its water bill is significantly lower than a conventional farm. Reducing complexity in the food supply chain and bringing it closer to consumers can only be a positive change. Plus, there is something to be said for the fact that access to better produce may help to change attitudes towards food, making consumers place more value in food that is sustainably produced and locally-grown.


🧠Want to know more? We covered the topic of how vertical farms are aiming high over on FoodHack+ a little while back. Plus, this really cool video by Bowery Farming shows the process in greater detail. It highlights that its produce is ‘untouched’ by humans, a really interesting concept anyway but especially in pandemic times when ‘contactless’ is not just desirable, but a strategy.

Urban Agriculture in the Wake of the Pandemic

 

🥬What: The Singapore government is launching a $45M agritech fund to boost urban food production in the city-state, after awarding a grant of $29.3M to nine urban farms in September. Inspiring? We think so. It’s a forward-thinking approach, centred around self-sufficiency and sustainability, something which is at the forefront of our minds in the wake of the pandemic. 

🤷Why: Diversifying where and how we grow our food helps spread the risk of disruption to food supplies. Relying on imports is a tricky business as many things could disrupt the supply chain, such as climate change-induced water scarcity or harvest labour shortages, not to mention politics (cheers, Brexit).

 

👍The benefits: More than half of the global population lives in urban areas, and this is expected to rise to 68% by 2050. Growing food where people live would seem to be an obvious solution. Reducing transport costs and environmental impact, cutting down on waste due to travel time, potentially altering the supply chain from one which artificially ripens produce in travel containers to one which harvests and distributes food when it’s ready to eat. But towns and cities are crowded, so solutions need to be small and mighty.

 

🚜 Does vertical farming hold the answer?

Vertical crops are more resilient to extreme weather, and indoor growing environments are easier to control than those in the field. Seeds used can be optimised for flavour instead of insect or weather resistance. Farmers can control the elements (literally: humidity, temperature and lighting) to optimise yield and shorten crop cycles in a way that is impossible in conventional agriculture.

 

👀 Here are some big players making green:

  • Little Leaf Farms closed $90M just last week to expand its network of hydroponic greenhouses, which supply a small radius of consumers to preserve freshness and reduce waste.
  • Plenty Unlimited banked another $140M in October, bringing its total to $500M, to build more of its space-saving vertical farms around the US. 
  • Revol Greens closed $68M in September, bringing its total to $215M, and became the world’s largest indoor lettuce producer, revolutionising the $20Bn salad industry, which has been struggling with environmental challenges.
  • Infarm raised $170M series C funding in September. Its farms can deliver a crop equivalent to an acre of fresh produce in just 25m2 footprint.
  • Bowery Farming has raised $167.5M to date to grow produce year-round without pesticides, with 95% less water than a conventional farm.
  • Gardyn secured $10M earlier this month to accelerate the North American expansion of its consumer-grade vertical farm, which can grow up to 30 plants at once and easily fits inside a small apartment.
  • SweGreen secured $1M in November to further develop its platform for AI-driven vertical farming, aimed at enhancing local and sustainable food production systems in urban environments.

💸Backers: Clearly, it’s something to think about. And not just in Singapore; Belgium-based venture capital firm Astanor Ventures announced in November the launch of its $325m fund dedicated to agriculture and food, Europe’s largest fund of its kind to date, to support futuristic food production solutions. Plus, Kimbal Musk has got behind the trend, with his own urban farming company, Square Roots.
 

💡Takeaway: There are high start-up costs and energy bills for this type of farming, but solar power and wind power can help to reduce a vertical farm’s energy footprint, and its water bill is significantly lower than a conventional farm. Reducing complexity in the food supply chain and bringing it closer to consumers can only be a positive change. Plus, there is something to be said for the fact that access to better produce may help to change attitudes towards food, making consumers place more value in food that is sustainably produced and locally-grown.


🧠Want to know more? We covered the topic of how vertical farms are aiming high over on FoodHack+ a little while back. Plus, this really cool video by Bowery Farming shows the process in greater detail. It highlights that its produce is ‘untouched’ by humans, a really interesting concept anyway but especially in pandemic times when ‘contactless’ is not just desirable, but a strategy.

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