As the human population grows exponentially, the global Food Supply Chain is gravely overburdened. In 2020, the United Nations classified 2.3bn people out of 7.7bn as ‘lacking year-round access to adequate food’. Even more, the world’s population is predicted to increase to 8.5bn in 2030 and 10bn by 2060.
Of the world’s current population, 54% lives in a metropolitan area. The fact is that city residents cannot access plenty of land food - but Vertical Farms can change that.
How the Food SC works
It involves a complex network of synchronised processes, actions, and individuals that manage and distribute food from its first condition as raw material to its final state as foods on our plates.
The food producer is the farmer. The initial food raw state, saying meat, vegetables, fruits, and more, are grown before being shipped to processors. The next Food SC step is transformed into final products consumers demand and enjoy. Then there are distributors and retailers.
Distributors move food products from producers and processors through many distribution channels to supply food to retailers and organisations in the hospitality sector, such as hotels and restaurants. Ultimately, every SC purpose is to make available products for consumers, as they are the final objective in any Food Supply Chain.
Which are the challenges the Food Supply Chain faces?
The standard for global organisations is innovation and development in infrastructures, how products are processed and transported. Global distribution lets food organisations obtain food goods at the best prices, get to new markets, and procure fresh products all year round. But, this globalisation comes together with a constantly escalating growing world population that has made the international Food SC more complex and puts it under more significant pressure to meet food demand.
The tension is triggered by climate change, water shortage, dreadful soil conditions, and waste in the Food Supply Chain. These matters diminish our capacity to supply food whilst escalating populations and rising living standards intensify food demand.
So, the big challenge is to improve innovative, clever, and climate-resilient Food SChs that guarantee our food security. Several new model organisations are now putting circular initiatives and practices in their Food SC to reduce waste and play their responsibility in resolving these challenges. One of these fruit and vegetable production procedures is called ‘Vertical Farming.’
Vertical Farming becomes part of the sustainable Food Supply Chain.
Vertical Farming is the procedure of generating food vertically indoors in shelves layers of food growing upwards. The Vertical Farming main goal is to maximise productivity all year round in a reduced space.
Vertical Farming is beneficial for sustainable and productive improvement. Vertical Farming can grow millions of fruit and vegetables a year – around four times the harvest we expect on a patch of land. Farmers will grow more crops for most of the year, extending our early and late season into when consumers typically rely on imports. We will see higher staff productivity, critical now and in years to come.
Companies are supported by The Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA), which controls temperature, humidity, CO2, light, nutrient concentration, and nutrient pH to maintain the best growing conditions for food crops whilst boosting resource employment.
Significant features and benefits of Vertical Farming:
- Vertical Farms result in fewer transportation costs bringing food into cities from rural areas.
- Vertical Farming can work in an air-tight room.
- Energy-saving LED lights supply lighting exclusively to each sort of plant.
- Some methods use less soil to grow plants and provide the nutrients they need, such as hydroponic, aeroponic, or aquaponic processes.
- Food is grown in a clean-controlled environment increasing food security.
- The use of closed-loop water systems lowers water consumption by 95%.
- The seasonal production can be grown year-round.
- Vertical Farming is dirt and pesticide-free, so no vegetable washing is needed.
- Climatic weather events do not affect Vertical Farming.
- No accidental fertilisers overspill, thus a smaller amount of groundwater contamination.
Final thoughts: time and distance in businesses and Logistics drive high costs; length is also related to energy consumption and carbon emissions.
Vertical Farming reduces transportation and logistics costs and related carbon footprints. It also reduces food waste and fuel consumption, and the need for trucks, trains, and planes. It increases service levels and customer satisfaction.
It brings flexibility since retailers and supermarkets can turn unused space into vertical farms, resulting in good quality fresh vegetables and fruits on store shelves at the right time and in the correct quantity. Not requiring tractors or farm machinery reduces hydrocarbon emissions and eliminates food waste.
Do you think that making infrastructure adjustments will better distribute food to those in need? What part can you play?
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