by Daniel McGroarty
TES GeoPolicy Editor
There’s a shortage in arable farmland – a challenge we’ll take on in future pieces at The Economic Standard – but there’s plenty of room to farm up rather than out, via vertical farming. As you’re clearly not stacking layers of soil, the key is aeroponics (air-toil, in the ancient Greek).
That’s the novel approach featured in a Los Angeles Times’ piece, Airline’s new twist to in-flight meals? (Urban) farm to (seatback tray) table, reporting on a collaboration between Singapore Airlines and New Jersey-based AeroFarms, providing leafy greens grown at AeroFarms’ former steel mill now converted to vertical farming.
Rather than soil, the greens’ roots are nourished with measured bursts of a nutrient-laden mist. Aeroponic crops grow faster, but even more important, in terms of footprint, “It’s estimated that AeroFarms’ one-acre New Jersey facility can produce the equivalent of 390 acres of traditionally grown produce.”
The greens will be trucked 4.5 miles from the AeroFarm site to the airline catering operation – which means that, when served at cruising altitude of 5 miles – the trip from farm to table will be shorter than the flight path that takes the meal from fork-to-mouth.
Over at The Spoon, there’s a list of U.S. cities which are at the cutting-edge of urban aeroponics: New York, Boston, Chicago and Detroit – the last of which is turning its abundance of abandoned industrial space into greenspace aeroponic farms.
It’s a snapshot of what farming will be, and how we’ll need to expand our mental palate as the world grapples with the challenge of feeding 10 billion hungry humans by 2050.