Roles of indoor vertical farming in sustainable production of horticultural crops

G. Niu, J. Masabni
Unusual weather, limited arable lands, water shortage, and seasonality are threatening crop production. The world population is expected to grow to 9.3 billion in 2050 and nearly 70% will be living in cities by 2050. Crop production must be increased proportionally to meet the increasing demand. When growing plants in the open field, yield and quality are subject to outdoor conditions, especially under climate scenario. Crop production in greenhouses and glasshouses has better productivity but is still limited by seasonality, severe weather, and low efficiency. Stable and reliable supply of plant-derived food is at risk. Also, there is a growing demand of consumers for fresh, local and year-round supply of produce. To solve this problem and increase production efficiency, a new form of agricultural cultivation - indoor vertical farming emerged as an alternative and supplementary crop growing system to conventional field-based and greenhouse production system. Indoor vertical farms can be built near consumers, achieve year-round production, eliminate the use of herbicides/pesticides, significantly reduce water use, increase produce quality, and create job opportunities in a comfortable work environment. In this paper, we describe the necessity of indoor farming for future agriculture, types of indoor vertical farms, their roles in sustainable production of suitable horticultural crops, and the status and challenges of indoor vertical farming.
Niu, G. and Masabni, J. (2021). Roles of indoor vertical farming in sustainable production of horticultural crops. Acta Hortic. 1305, 365-374
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1305.48
artificial lighting, controlled environment agriculture, LED, plant factory, urban horticulture

Acta Horticulturae