What you see in the image is not a garden, it is the future of agriculture: this is how we are multiplying by four the productivity of farmland
They say the next agricultural revolution will bring farms to the heart of cities; They say that they will line the interior of the forgotten factories that populate the urban landscape of the Western world with green; They say that now comes the key challenge: to feed more mouths in a single day than have ever been fed in the history of mankind. All together. So they say. It is not clear to me, I have never had it and I have said it actively and passively. For this reason, I have to admit that the efforts to achieve it are mind-boggling.
Vertical farms they have been with us for years, but only now that they are becoming a reality. And what a reality: English farms are capable of multiply by four the productivity of the land they cultivate without using more than natural light. That is, even in climates with such low light, the results are overwhelming.
I do not know if intensive agriculture will be brought to the center of cities, but along the way we will achieve revolutionize the way we grow everything we eat.
Shutting down the system: driving the new green revolution
The main problem is that standard agriculture is an activity that continues to develop in open systems. That is, almost unpredictable and full of risk in which two nights of frost mean losses of up to 9 million euros. In the 1850s, Dutch farmers created the modern greenhouse to solve this problem in the most obvious way: creating physically closed environments.
Vertical farms are just the next step forward and no, they are nothing like traditional farms, or greenhouses to use. They are huge warehouses full of white shelves full of vegetables. In the case of Shockingly Fresh, a project in Offenham (UK) that does not use heating and artificial light, thousands of lettuce and Asian cabbages (pak choi) are harvested. Two million a year, according to his calculations. They are also starting to grow strawberries on a large scale.
All consuming less water, less pesticides and producing much more of what we produce per square meter. Aeroponics, hydroponia, aquaponics, modular farms and many other methodologies they are the ones behind all this. That is to say, seeing the (seminal) state of all these techniques it seems clear that there is a lot of game yet to be played.
And that’s the most interesting part: in Spain only 5% of the population is dedicated to agriculture. We have been doing more and more with less for decades; that is no mystery. What happens is that This has only started.