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Vertical Farming Can Provide Needed Crops to Water-Scarce Regions

white-keithIn California, an area highly publicized for its severe water woes, agriculture alone uses 80 percent of the state’s water supply — yet farmers are forced to use less water and sacrifice crops for the good of the masses. When water scarcity affects the agriculture industry, the effects are not just felt regionally. Eight hundred fifty million people worldwide go to bed hungry already, which will only increase without a better solution to the current water-intensive agricultural process. Vertical farming, a process that allows farmers to grow produce year round in a controlled climate, has shown great promise to be the solution we’re looking for.

Vertical farming has grown into a $9 billion a year industry as technology continues to improve the way we grow our food. One technology in particular that elevates a vertical farming structure’s value is atmospheric water generation (AWG) — the production of water from humidity that’s already in the air by bringing it to dew point and filtering it for collection and consumption. This technology is both cost-effective and environmentally friendly, as it alleviates dependency on natural water resources because it forms a continuous water cycle within the structure. The humidity is collected and filtered into water, which is then used to nurture the plants, and in turn sent back into the atmosphere inside the structure where it is harvested again and again.

Pairing atmospheric water generation with a closed-loop structure creates a turnkey greenhouse solution that can control humidity and temperature within the structure while providing a clean water source for agricultural or consumption uses. This is an invaluable resource for many regions across the globe that struggle with water scarcity, with great potential to drastically improve circumstances in the following three areas:

Large Scale Agriculture

Conventional agriculture practices have proven to be rather unsustainable. Farmers already lose a ton of crops due to different hardships related to bugs or weather. New Jersey farmers lose $290 million annually from direct crop loss or damage caused by agricultural pests, and just this past summer Indiana farmers lost $475 million due to far too much precipitation. In states where there are harsh winters that prevent farming all year round, it becomes increasingly important to get the most out of the months optimal for farming.

With vertical farming, farmers can ensure that their crops will grow year-round and in an environment best suited for growth. They will no longer have to worry about harmful weather conditions or pests, and they will see a significant increase in their yield. Farmers will get a significant return on investment as they will be able to sell more product while seeing decreased waste, and will not have to pay for a water source because atmospheric water generation will drastically reduce their water footprint.

Keith White
Keith White is the founder and CEO of Ambient Water, an atmospheric water generation technology company providing solutions that produce water from the humidity in the air. Its flagship systems include the Ambient Water 400, which is capable of producing up to 400 gallons of clean water per day.
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2 thoughts on “Vertical Farming Can Provide Needed Crops to Water-Scarce Regions

  1. There’s a significant potential for the type of sustainable aeroponic,hydroponic system described in the article. I assume temporary vertical structures would be built using plastic, permanent structures would use glass, and interior energy needs would be met using solar or wind. Is there a small-scale industrial solar glass production concept afoot that could convert temporary structures to permanent structures?

  2. Unfortunately hydroponic farming on a scale large enoughdo you even come close to replacing California’s outdoor farms would require such an investment in buildings and related infrastructure that it would almost assuredly make the price of produce grown in them astronomically high. I do small-scale basis, yeah, I could see hydroponics being used but certainly not as a way of replacing the the much more economical outdoor farms.

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