Fundação Grupo Boticário de Proteção à Natureza

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Vertical Farming

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Posted by Bruce Willey on 01-11-2016 - Last updated on 01-11-2016

Use vertical farming to grow food for humans and livestock and return current farmland to nature.

Two of the main threats to biodiversity in the world are habitat loss due to clearing land for agriculture and the pesticide and fertilizer run-off from huge farms through sensitive areas where threated species are. The agriculture industry should be encouraged to transition from traditional farming on cleared land to growing crops in vertical farms.

Vertical farms require less space and water to grow crops compared to tradional agriculture. They need space and water but they can be built on marginal land that has poor soil quality, since the soil is "manufactured" for them. They require sophisticated technology to monitor and optimize plant growth so that would be good for several industries related to the petroleum industry such as fluid handling, chemical analysis, electronics and IT. The construction industy would also benefit. The labor force for vertical farming would be working in cleaner, safter conditions than a traditional farm. The source of crops for domestic use and export would be much closer to the points of distribution and transportation. A well-planned vertical farm could also be an attractive indoor park and would contribute fresh air to its surroundings.

Brazil has plenty of water and sunlight and is warm. These three factors alleviate three main problems with vertical farming in other countries (depleting groundwater, providing artificial lighting and heat.) It would be necessary to divert the equatorial, overhead sunlight into where the plants are in the buildings but that could be accomplished with light tunnels and mirrors etc.

As land is returned to nature, biodiversity can be maintained and even increased. If the vertical farms are located closer to population centers, there will be less traffic moving produce and workers through sensitive areas and fewer plants and animals will be impacted by heavy traffic. The run-off from the vertical farms could be treated on-site and not pass through sensitive areas, causing algae blooms and other problems for the indigenous biosystem. Some farm infrastructure could be maintained to support land reclamation and provide housing and other support for eco-tourism. Many toursits would actually pay (or be subsidized) to work on land reclamation. 

Vertical farming solves many of the problems besetting the natural world and provides enormous benefits to industry and people as well.