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An innovative vertical farming / modular pod solution

“Vertical farming is the practice of growing crops in vertically stacked layers. It often incorporates controlled-environment agriculture, which aims to optimize plant growth, and soilless farming techniques such as hydroponics, aquaponics, and aeroponics”. (Wikipedia)

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

How Vertical Farming can provide a solution

The United Nations (UN) has established numerous goals on a global scale – these being to help create a bright future for both people and the planet.

The UN places much emphasis on Sustainable Development and to which, the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the 2030 Agenda were formulated as a guide.

The key aim via the UN’s SDGs is for the global community to tackle the most salient and pressing challenges facing the world today, and include those relating to climate change, sustainability and scarcity of the world’s resources, and poverty.

Innovative Vertical Farming solutions as a sustainable agricultural practice is important and can be a crucial driver towards addressing future scarcity in food resources, whilst simultaneously providing an avenue for developing a system for food production patterns – this to help ensure sustainability.

In respect to the UN SDGs, such practices as referenced above are fundamental towards helping the global community fulfilling Goals 2, 11 and 12.

SD Goal 2 – Zero Hunger

  • End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

SD Goal 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities

  • Makes cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

SD Goal 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production

  • Ensures sustainable consumption and production patterns

GBS’s commitment

Via the company’s activities and projects, we aim to address such social and environmental challenges through both developing and utilising technologies that are more sustainable.

We had already started to conduct research and development into vertical farm systems due to the genuine opportunity to manufacture ready insulated and modular structures for vertical farm applications.

With expertise on hand and the assistance of other third-party manufacturing experience, we are pleased to be making excellent progress in both Vertical Farming and modular pods and buildings as means of working towards creating an impact for tackling today’s challenges.

Vertical Growth Farms – Trends

2018
The global vertical Farm market size is predicted to be valued at around $12.8 billion by 2025. This is an increase of over 500%

2019

According to Savills in October 2019….
87% of the UK population would buy a product with an environmental benefit”.

Current applications of vertical farming coupled with other state-of-the-art technologies, such as specialised LED lights, have resulted in over x 10 times the crop yield compared to that achieved through traditional farming methods.

Benefits of applying Vertical Farming methods:

  • Allows maximum yield crop
  • Offers a reliable harvest – consistent and scheduled – no seasonal variations
  • Not affected by weather or climatic conditions
  • Food can be cultivated in areas regarded as unsuitable for agriculture, ie. urban
  • 24/7 growing cycle throughout the night and day
  • Providing that system integrity is maintained, methods are unaffected by airborne disease
  • Unaffected by soil conditions
  • Not affected by insect attack
  • Transportation costs eradicated
  • Minimal water usage
  • Small footprint only required compared to standard agriculture
  • No pesticides required
  • Food can be picked and delivered instantly to table
  • Healthier, safer, eco-friendly and food is organic

THE GBS VERTICAL FARMING SOLUTION

Compared to current methods

One of the main areas of vertical farming in recent times has centred upon the use of second-hand metal shipping containers. Although readily available, they bring with them several potential issues, such as:

  • The requirement for much internal insulation
  • Not the most efficient size for growing capacity
  • A large number of air flow pumps made be needed to prevent condensation
  • They require a heat source and/or refrigeration
  • There is a tendency for their floors to rot and rust due to previous exposure to sea air
  • Costly to modify and make ready for growing mediums

The GBS prototype module

This has been built to our own specification to act when required as a demonstration system.

Key Features

Optimum design
Our own innovative solution enables us to maximise potential yield and space, allowing us to incorporate as many growing frames into our own 20 ft. container as those efficiently used in a 40 ft. container.

Modular method of construction
This enables us to manufacture to bespoke sizes and construct on-site, providing the ability for locating and/or retrofitting the modular pods inside barns, warehouses, etc. This reduces transportation costs as well as build times and offers us a unique opportunity to design and build to particular requirements or specification.

Exciting Developments/ Recent news

  • We are currently in discussions with a farming co-operative who wish to make full use of existing empty farm buildings and locate modular growing units within these.
  • The company is awaiting a visit from a Middle Eastern delegation in terms of food production for desert dwellers.
  • Being aware of a growing trend to supply to restaurants, hotels and retail establishments so they may grow fresh produce and serve “straight to table”, we look to capitalise on such opportunities.

Feeding the World

The Challenges

The global population continues to increase – Current land required to feed 7.2 billion people equates to the size of South America.

Food shortages – We are already experiencing such shortages. Many areas of the world currently suffer from food shortages and economic pressures are resulting in staple foods such as wheat, rice and corn becoming more expensive.

Global warming & natural disasters – These are destroying crops and making land unsuitable for cultivating produce. Many areas have so little water and are unable to grow quantities of food consistently and reliably.

Future trends – Within the next 5-10 years, food shortages will affect many more people. By 2050, the predicted population will increase to 9 billion.

 

Unless radical changes are applied to cultivation methods, there may be a lack of growing space or food available to feed everyone.

The global community needs to take action now and grow food in every environment – including within urban environments. 

Vertical Farming can make a significant contribution towards achieving this.

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