There are 7.4 billion people on the planet, and all of them need to be fed. What's the most efficient and sustainable method for accomplishing this? Traditional farming strategies have monopolized our natural resources, and often prove wasteful and too heavily reliant on pesticides and other toxic pollutants. Many regions don't have the means to produce their own organic food supply, and must have it shipped to them from great distances. In future years, as the global population continues to rise and viable farming lands dwindle, our planet could face a food crisis like we've never experienced before. The new vpro documentary The Rise of Vertical Farming explores one possible solution.
Vertical farming literally turns the commonplace farming model on its head. Rows of crops are no longer earthbound, but stacked stories high in a tightly controlled indoor environment. Housed in abandoned warehouses, factories and office buildings, these farms can be erected in cities across the globe, mass produce organic foods for neighboring communities, and greatly reduce the destruction of our ecosystem in the process.
Industrialized farming techniques have profoundly altered the food industry, but they've also contributed to environmental depletion and widespread chronic disease. As a result, the demand for fresh, locally grown produce is at an all-time high. Vertical farming could be the key to fulfilling that demand.
The filmmakers spotlight several of these operations from the United States to Sweden, including Aerofarms, the world's largest vertical farm which is based in New Jersey. These operations make meaningful use of neglected infrastructure and have the potential to elevate the health of the consumers they serve. Often positioned just a few miles from large grocers and distribution centers, they can also slash the span of travel from farm to plate from days and weeks to mere minutes.
The Rise of Vertical Farming gives us an enthralling tour inside a modern farming system that appears to be on the verge of breaking through into the mainstream. It's a social experiment that could one day become a full-fledged industry that serves the needs of billions. The film pays tribute to the power of ingenuity, and inspires hopes for a healthier and more sustainable future.