The Future of Farming?

Plants grow with the help of LED light bulbs, a hydroponic solution, and soilist balls, which are lightweight spheres that contain nutrients.

The year is 2050. Towers filled with fruits and vegetables growing in vertical rows dominatemetropolises. With the world population expected to reach between 8.3 and 10.9 billion by 2050, this vision of “vertical farming” using hydroponics (the process of growing plants in sand, gravel, or liquid with added nutrients but no soil) may become commonplace.

More and more people around the world are living in urban areas, and the demand for high-quality fresh food is rising. At the same time, new homes, apartment buildings, shopping centers, and roads are replacing fertile land near cities. That makes growing crops in skyscrapers an interesting solution.


In Dallas, Texas, a company called Green Habitat Hydroponics (GHH), sells vertical farming supplies. I recently spoke with Kris Maxwell, a sales employee at GHH, about the business.

“It’s like you are the god of the garden,” Maxwell said. “You can control anything and everything you want to with hydroponics. For example, certain plants need certain nutrients and pH levels [acidity measures]. But don’t worry. You can change the hydroponic solution by adding or taking away nutrients, or by balancing the pH level, or even by controlling the amount of water in a solution, so that plants get all the nutrients and water requirements they need. There are even different solutions for certain phases in the plant’s growth.”

In this indoor environment, LED lights, which are environmentally friendly, mimic the sun’s rays. Heaters, coolers, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers control the temperature and humidity. Up to 300 plants can thrive in one container unit.



GHH also sells aeroponic systems. With this process, plants are placed in huge buckets containing tubing that soaks the roots in a liquid solution. Nutrient-rich wastes from fish, for example, are filtered and sent through the water tube system.

“The good thing about this method is that no fertilizers have to be used because the fish produce all of the necessary nutrients,” Maxwell said. “Another advantage of vertical farming is that no insects or other pests will damage your crops.”

What do you think? Does vertical farming have a bright future?

Photo courtesy of the author