Will the next vertical farm come from an IKEA box?
The world’s population is growing exponentially and without new innovation solutions, food scarcity will become an all too real reality for all of us. UNICEF predicts that in 30 years, 70% of the world’s population will be living in cities. We see macro trends such as urbanisation, demographic, political and economic changes shifting the world in front of our eyes, and in combination with depleting natural resources and rapid technological advances, priorities many companies are adapting to the current world climate.
The biggest question on everyone’s mind is, in 30 years, our population density will be too high to supply enough fresh food to all city areas from current farming techniques, How will we maintain communal health without access to fresh, healthy food? A company called Space10 analysed the trends mentioned above and formed a partnership with IKEA’s external innovation lab, and together they came up with a potential solution to our global issue.
Our of this partnership came a prototype of a miniature vertical farm that was presented at the London Design Festival in September. The farm is a space saving, sustainable solution that allows people to grow their own food. Space10 introduced the concept to the world by creating a popup shop in Shoreditch, London where visitors could see the invention in full swing. Standing at two square meters wide and three meters tall, farm served the community over 2000 salads over the six day festival.
The crops are grown in a hydroponic vertical farm meaning there is no soil and minimal food and water waste. The water pumping through the hydroponic setup is referred to as a solution filled with nutrients perfect for plant growth, and photosynthesis and plant growth occur under artificial lights installed about the plants.
While the concept exists, we should not expect for IKEA to start selling these for home use just yet, as Communications Director Simon Casperen mentioned that the concept is not part of IKEA’s current business model.
We are seeing vertical farming thrive in the industrial environment with rising investments and there is a real chance that vertical home farming could become our new reality. Keep your eye out because this time next year, you could be growing your own food from right inside your home.
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