No Soil? No Sun? No Problem! Growing Crops With AeroFarms
AeroFarms transformed an old laser tag arena in Newark, New Jersey into a huge indoor vertical farm that grows crops without soil, pesticide, and sunlight. They use 95% less water and their crops grow faster compared to crops farmed the traditional way. Inside their facility, almost 250 varieties of leafy vegetables and herbs are vertically stacked on layers more than 30 feet high.
According to AeroFarms CEO David Rosenberg, “typically in indoor growing, the roots sit in water and one tries to oxygenate the water. Our key inventor realized that if we mist nutrition to the root structure, then the roots have a better oxygenation.” This process is called aeroponics. Crops grow on reusable cloths and are placed on a container. Water and LED lighting (which act as natural sunlight) are tightly controlled.
Vertical farming started as a classroom idea of Columbia University ecologist Dickson Despommier. He and his students realized that this concept will be a great solution to grow crops on buildings and urban structures, helping ease food crises in over populated cities.