By 2050, the United Nations predicts the world’s population will reach 9.6 billion people, 86 percent of whom will live in cities. With more mouths to feed in urban areas and less arable land, food shortages are a serious possibility. Enter vertical farming, which uses new technology to grow crops in vertically stacked racks. These urban greenhouses have been popping up all over the world, including in Scranton, Penn., New Scientist reports. The single story building being constructed right now by Green Spirit Farms will cover a mere 3.25 hectares, but will house about 17 million plants, including lettuce, spinach, kale, tomatoes, peppers, basil and strawberries. These plants are fed nutrients through hydroponic systems and grow year round because they sit in rotating racks that ensures exposure to light. Vertical farms have been heralded as the future of urban agriculture and a solution to farming in extreme weather. They also reduce the distance food has to travel to get to your plate, saving money and fuel. And because fresh fruits and vegetables would be so readily available, lower-income city dwellers would have greater access to nutritious foods. With vertical farming, the sky’s the limit.
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