Why Vertical Farms Fail

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Check out this summary of a conversation from 3 failed vertical farmers talking about what they would do differently.

vertical farms fail

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Are Hydroponic Vegetables as Nutritious as Those Grown in Soil?

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Are hydroponic vegetables as healthy as those grown in the soil? Someone asked the Times just that and they give a great answer, even citing opinions on traditional “organic, soil” advocates. In short, yes they are.

hydroponic lettuce

JASON HENRY FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Elon Musk’s entrepreneur brother reveals 4 predictions for the future of food

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Forget Elon for a second, Kimbal Musk is the man right now. He runs two restaurant chains and has brought school garden programs to over 300 schools. And now he’s dropped 4 predictions about the future of food…and they actually all make sense.

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I rip this vertical farm critic to shreds

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Let me start out by saying that this is actually one of the best critiques of vertical farming that’s out there. And I’m not surprised, the author, Stan Cox, works at the Land Institute, one of the most important groups for agricultural transformation out there . They do some really incredible things and I have a huge amount of respect for their work. Unfortunately, it seems they still fall into the same trap as everyone else that wants to talk about how the sun is free and how important soil is; they assume that because vertical farming can’t solve everything, it should solve nothing.

I’m going to go paragraph by paragraph and respond to Stan Cox’s article and address the misconceptions there. This is not a fluff piece, this is not a blog post meant for internet readability. This is a take down.

Vertical farming Critic shredded

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AeroFarms Wins Circular Economy Honor

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A single tree blossoms thousands of times, part of a beautiful biology that continues the species. Yet, of those thousands of blossoms, we do not consider those that do not become another tree wasteful. Instead, they are beautiful, and useful. Those that don’t lead to another tree start to decompose and begin a cycle of nourishment where the biological building blocks of the blossom are fed back into the parent tree. The circle of life.

This illustration is used repeatedly in Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough and Michael Braungart, a book that describes in a growing wave of persuasion the need for what’s known as a circular economy.

Vertical farming strives towards this type of system, and one farm in particular has been recognized for embodying this ideology. Many of you know AeroFarms for recently raising millions in funding to build the worlds largest vertical aeroponic farm in Newark. AeroFarms is a finalist for the World Economic Forum (WEF) Ecolab Award for Circular Economy Enterprise. Whether or not they win the award, this is an honor for sure.

AeroFarms Circular Economy
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