Vertical farms or “Plant factories” terms which describe vertically stacked fully controlled environment used to produce food have the potential to help societies meet the elevated demand without the need for additional farmland.
Farming indoors is not a new concept, per se, as greenhouse-based agriculture has been in existence for some time. Numerous commercially viable crops (e.g., strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, herbs, and spices) have seen their way to the world’s supermarkets in ever-increasing amounts over the last 15 years. Most of these operations are small when compared to factory farms, but unlike their outdoor counterparts, these facilities can produce crops year-round. Japan, Scandinavia, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada have thriving greenhouse industries. As far as is known, none have been constructed as multi-story buildings. Other food items that have been commercialized by indoor farming include freshwater fishes (e.g., tilapia, trout, striped bass), and a wide variety of crustaceans and mollusks (e.g., shrimp, crayfish, mussels).