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.

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Vertical Farming Market estimated at $1.15 B and projected at $6.31 B in 2022

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Vertical farming is going to make people money. It is one of the fastest growing segments of the ag tech industry. The global vertical farming market is estimated to have been $1.15 billion in 2015 and some market researchers say it is poised to reach $6.31 billion by 2022.

6-billion-vertical-farm-market

With any sort of market report, it’s always super hard to verify if their information is good. It’s also very difficult to know if analysts are setting appropriate parameters for defining and calculating what that market is. However, Wise Guy Reports new analysis shows fairly large growth. (Editor’s note: I do not recommend buying this report, but it is useful to signify market growth)

To put all of this in perspective with the conventional greenhouse industry, just the market for the plastic film used for high tunnels and some types of greenhouses is estimated to grow to $4.7 billion in the same period of time. Many large-scale greenhouses aren’t even made out of plastic!

So, vertical farming is almost trivial compared to the global greenhouse market despite the fact that there is some overlap.

Intake and Exhaust For Indoor Farming

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My contractor told me a fart fan was all I needed for exhaust for my farm. “Those fans only cost like $15!” he said. I was stoked. But, as I was walking through the aisle at Lowes with him and we got to the bathroom exhaust fans, I realized I was going to have to rethink.

ventilation-for-indoor-grows

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How I Picked A Site For My Farm

Want information beyond the blog? Sign up for our free newsletter. In case you missed the announcement, here’s the first article in the series on starting my vertical farm.

I was between a passive greenhouse and a refurbished garage. How did I decide?

When I started researching how I was going to take the next steps with this project, the very first question that popped into my head was “Where am I going to do this?” Initially, I was set on a large, dense city. After all, it’s what I’d been writing about for years and what has been demonstrated to work.

Of course, after talking with everyone that I’ve talked to, I learned that land and initial equipment investment were the largest expenditures for vertical farms. And I didn’t want to be like one of the many failed farms that threw a bunch of space and money at the business and walked away bankrupt like Alterrus.

How to chose a site for a vertical farm

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How much does a vertical farm cost? Maybe my farm can help you guess

I spend a lot of time looking at Google data to see specifically what people are interested in for vertical farming. Resoundingly, it’s how to do it and how much it costs. But unfortunately, asking any professional in the field right now those questions is like pulling teeth. No one wants to talk, no one wants to answer them.Hydroponic Lettuce

To be fair, part of that is because they’re extremely hard questions. I know because I’ve been asked them. Often people write vague emails with just a rough sketch of an idea in mind and expect me to do all the legwork for them. However, because each situation for a farm is so different (where are you doing it? what kind of space do you have access to? who are you selling to? etc.), it becomes impossible to answer.

People are of course resoundingly polite and friendly about it, but it feels like you never walk away with enough information.  I want to change that. While I already made this announcement on my email list (if you haven’t signed up already, check it out – there’s more early access announcements and even more content you’ll get there than what’s on the site), I want to put it out here as well.

I finally finished a deal on a space to start my own commercial hydroponics farm.

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