Urban farming is taking over from conventional farming at many across the globe.
A BBC report states that ten shipping containers dominate a corner of the Brooklyn parking area, each full of climate control tech, growing herbs that are distributed to local stores on bicycles.
The containers are owned by Square Roots, part of America’s fast-expanding vertical farming industry, a sector run by many tech entrepreneurs who believe food production is ripe for disruption.
The world’s best basil reputedly comes from Genoa, Italy. Square Roots grows Genovese seeds in a container that recreates the city’s daylight hours, humidity, Co2 levels – and all fed hydroponically in nutrient-rich water, the report added.
An artificial intelligence expert, Peggs founded Square Roots with investor Kimball Musk (Elon’s brother) two years ago.
They’ve signed a deal with one of America’s big distribution companies, Gordon Food Service, to locate herb-growing containers at some its 200 warehouses.
The report quoted him as saying that the deal represents everything about indoor farming’s potential – locally grown, quick-to-market, fresh produce that can be harvested year-round and is free of pesticides and harsh weather.
Jeffery Landau, director of business development at Agritecture Consulting estimates the global value of the vertical farming market will rise to about $ 6.4 bn by 2023, from $ 403 m in 2013, with almost half that attributed to growth in the US.
Plenty, another major US player, raised funds from Softbank chief executive Masayoshi Son and former Google head Eric Schmidt.
The company has ambitions to build hundreds of vertical farms in China. In the UK, food delivery and robotics company Ocado is investing in indoor farming.
In neighbouring New Jersey, however, Bowery Farming, takes a different approach. The five-year-old company runs industrial-sized farms.
Outside one huge, grey windowless warehouse a heat haze shimmers off the concrete.
It’s a sharp contrast to the chilly interior where an aroma of fresh farm produce hits you immediately, the report added.