The UN projects that 70 percent of the global population will be living in cities, with an additional growth of 2.5 billion more people by 2050, leading to a growth in cities to become mega cities. The big issue will be how to feed the ever-growing cities’ residences. The system of food distribution today will not be sustainable, where most of the food in the country comes from either California or Mexico, about two weeks after the food is picked, loosing most of the nutrients in the process, leaving to a lack of proper nutrition, and increase of health problems.
The solution is vertical/hydroponic farming. By taking old abandoned warehouses at a low cost, or even shipping containers, in the inner cities or close to food distributers, and repurposing them into soilless hydroponic farming that is stacked on vertical towers, provides many benefits and solves many issues:
- Nutrition: As the current system of food production and delivery is, by the time food is at your table, it has lost much of its nutrition, creating an increase of illnesses and health effects. Having the food grown a few blocks away, the food will be delivered within days even hours of when the produce is picked, providing its full nutritional value, and increase of health and wellness.
- Controlled climate: Because the produce is grown inside with the latest technology, as well as soil-less, this provides an absolute controlled climate. This allows for a significant reduction of contamination, higher nutritional value from traditional farming, much higher yield and faster growth periods, to feed more people in a shorter period of time. Being able to control the climate inside the facility also allows for growth of certain proteins the plant naturally produced to be tweaked so that medical aspects of that plant can be used in the Bio-Pharma industry, which would allow for more plant-based medicine in the market, therefore lowering the costs of the medicines, for example.
- Food deserts and inner-city jobs. This is a two in one benefit. As the warehouses will be in areas where it is cheaper to buy the land, in the urban areas, they will typically be in the inner cities. Old warehouses would be repurposed and filled with jobs hired from those in the inner cities. As these farms would be located in so called “food deserts,” they would be able to have regular farmers markets at low prices in many areas of the neighborhoods giving inner-city residents options for nutritious food, reducing health related problems, and increasing proper food education. The jobs created would be high tech agricultural science/technology jobs in those neighborhoods with a healthy career path.
- Comply with IL HB3418 requesting that each municipality develop an urban agricultural committee to issue urban agricultural areas that would allow for certain tax abatements, utility discounts and other similar zoning incentives.
- Develop a resource or referencing so that communications between inspectors, the urban agricultural committee and city officials can properly use to communicate with those in the urban agricultural areas.
- Allow for laws and incentives to be in line with traditional farming so the industry can compete on a level playing field.
- The city to define Hydroponic gardening as a subset of hydroculture, which is the growing of plants in a soil less medium or an aquatic based environment. Hydroponic gardening uses mineral based nutrient solutions to feed plants in water without soil.