Great article in The New Yorker January 9 issue on Vertical Farming and innovators in Newark who are growing fresh vegetables with a fraction of the water, no soil or chemicals, nor cross-country transport.
This is the ‘buy local’ movement personified and it is perfectly timed to meet our simultaneous needs for plentiful, fresh, healthy food and a sustainable environment. See: The Vertical Farm, growing crops in the city, without soil or natural light:
“Agricultural runoff is the main cause of pollution in the oceans; vertical farms produce no runoff. Outdoor farming consumes seventy per cent of the planet’s freshwater; a vertical farm uses only a small amount of water compared with a regular farm. All over the world, croplands have been degraded or are disappearing. Vertical farming can allow former cropland to go back to nature and reverse the plundering of the earth…
Today in the U.S., vertical farms of various designs and sizes exist in Seattle, Detroit, Houston, Brooklyn, Queens, and near Chicago, among other places. AeroFarms is one of the largest. Usually the main crop is baby salad greens, whose premium price, as Ed Harwood realized, makes the enterprise attractive. The willingness of a certain kind of customer to pay a lot for salad justifies the investment, and after the greens get the business up and running its technology will be adapted for other crops, eventually feeding the world or a major fraction of it. That is the vision.”