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Vertical Farming Is Moving Up

Interior view of a vertical farm.
Interior view of a vertical farm. (Photo by James Altland, USDA-ARS)

Vertical farming is the practice of growing crops in vertically stacked layers. It allows farmers to grow fresh produce indoors year-round and could be part of the solution to growing crops where there is a limited availability of land and water.

It sounds like a futuristic concept, but gears are already in motion for practical implementation. Small fruiting crops like tomatoes as well as leafy greens have great potential for vertical farming production. Tomatoes can be grown hydroponically (in a nutrient-rich solution rather than in soil) in a greenhouse.

ARS plant pathologist Dr. Kai-Shu Ling and research horticulturalist Dr. James Altland discuss vertical farming in the August 2021 issue of Under the Microscope.