Publications Thursday: vertical farms bear fruit

January 30th, 2020

This week, a contribution from CSIRO’s wider work on agtech. Cathryn O’Sullivan and colleagues write in Nature Biotechnology about how to expand urban farming beyond growing leafy vegetables. They make four vital points that are, perhaps, being neglected at this stage in the hype cycle:

  • It is unlikely that indoor farms will provide all our staple dry goods, such as wheat and rice
  • Optimal plant phenotypes – and hence genotypes – for indoor production are going to differ in identifiable ways from the plants we have bred to grow outdoors
  • The concept of appropriate technology needs to be applied to indoor farming. There is a “right” level of climate control that depends on the crop, the external environment and the socio-economic context
  • The capital and operating costs of climate-controlled farms must be reduced, or they will benefit only the wealthiest communities. (Capital cost reduction is, in my view, particularly important here.)

The whole paper can be found here