Feeding British Columbia with Vertical Farms

UP Vertical Farms is growing completely automated food with a high harvesting rate.
Reading Time: 2 minutes

UP Vertical Farms is growing completely automated food with a high harvesting rate. Image: Alamy

Reading Time: 2 minutes

UP Vertical Farming has opened its vertical farm in British Columbia, which requires minimal to no land, water and fertilizers.

As climate change worsens, its effects are harming crops worldwide. Warmer temperatures are causing irregularities in the growing season and are bringing more pests that may require harmful chemicals. As a result, farmers are taking their crops indoors, using more sustainable methods for growing their crops. Indoor farming allows certain foods (such as leafy greens) to be grown yearly. Different soil-less systems exist for growing food, including aquaponics which uses fish reared in water tanks, and the waste they produce is biofiltered and runs through the root zone of the plants. Hydroponics uses sand, peat moss, rice hulls, gravel and drip irrigation. Aeroponics is a type of hydroponics system where water with dissolved nutrients is sprayed at the base of the plants.

Vertical farming is becoming increasingly popular in response to climate change. Instead of relying on the sun and rain for growth, vertical farms use LED lighting and controlled growing and nutrition systems. The plants are stacked vertically, which maximizes plant space utilization and production, allowing more plants to be grown in the same area. Because vertical farms aren’t reliant on the weather, they can grow fresh produce all year round. As a result, vertical farms tend to produce more than conventional farms as they can be harvested multiple times a year.

UP Vertical Farms has just announced the opening of its vertical farm facility in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia. The company offers a variety of leafy vegetables that are grown using 99 percent less land, water and fertilizers. The entire process is completely automated from seedling to harvest and doesn’t use pesticides, herbicides or fungicides, which allows their products to stay fresh and be ready to eat right off the shelf.

The growing process uses recycled CO2 and proprietary lighting technology. Everything is grown to custom levels, and flavour and the products can last over 22 days in the fridge. The environment in which their plants are grown is controlled based on humidity, temperature, water, light and nutrients. UP Vertical Farms can produce 350 times the yield compared to conventional farms. Moreover, their growing period takes between 13 and 21 days until they can be harvested. This means the company can tailor-produce blends depending on the customer’s needs. UP Vertical Farms hopes to help curb food insecurity in the area while limiting Canada’s dependence on imported produce.

As more growers switch to indoor farming, it will help free up agricultural land for forests or greenspaces, which will help to reduce the effects of climate. With the high turnover of their products, companies will be able to feed more people. And, because it is grown locally will reduce the environmental impact of food production. UP Vertical Farms is one company making this switch, but as more people become aware of the benefits, we might see more indoor farms in our hometowns.

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