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Sustainable food production using high density vertical growing (VertiCrop™)

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Abstract

Europe’s first vertical farm is currently being piloted with VertiCropTM at Paignton Zoo in Devon. It is experimenting High Density Vertical Growing as a sustainable solution to feeding increasing urban populations in twenty-first century towns and cities. The technology comes at a time when alternative land uses, such as biofuel and fiber production, are competing with traditional food production for the available soil and water resource. While increasing pressure is being placed on the managers of land to adapt and contribute to the mitigation of climate change through less intensive resource management. VertiCropTM (VC) is an integrated hydroponic approach that addresses the central issue of optimising resource use to grow crops near to where they are consumed, using the most advanced technology to ensure efficient crop production. Advanced irrigation equipment and a soilless culture removes the need for good agricultural land, while utilizing vertical space further reduces the area of land required to grow any crop. The pilot project grows 11,200 plants in a greenhouse of 100 m2, using a conveyor driven stacked growing system various micro greens, lettuce and salad mixes have been planted sequentially to provide a regular supply of fresh green leaves; with the primary focus of economic profitability, improved nutritional value and environmental enrichment to improve animal feeding regimes at the zoo. The potential of VC opens up the way for schools, hospitals and housing estates in cities and towns to grow their own vegetables, to reduce their carbon footprint and associated food miles. In the future, it will be possible to extend the research direction to include vertical cultivation of food, biofuels and medicinal crops, such as high market value pharmaceutical products.
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... Addressing food security is a primary focus for Bayley et al. (2011), that discuss the vertical farm model as a sustainable solution to achieve food security amid rapid growth of urban populations. To do so, the authors tested the high-density vertical planting model at Devon's Paignton Zoo in the UK. ...
... The literature has not yet identified accurately the real level of interrelation between food, water and energy, and sustainable development (Biggs et al., 2015). However, the increase in studies related to the FWE nexus showed a growing concern of the academy on this subject (Tirado et al., 2010;Hanjra and Qureshi, 2010;Bayley et al., 2011;Timilsina and Shrestha, 2011;Huang et al., 2011;Lal, 2013;Vries et al., 2013;Grizzetti et al., 2013;Popp et al., 2014;Vuuren et al., 2015;Yang & Goodrich, 2014;Lawford et al., 2013), which appears as a new field of science and a major challenge for government policies. The following table takes the main ideas regarding policies, research and development and production out of the twelve articles presented in session 4.1. ...
... Lal, 2013;Hanjra and Qureshi, 2010 Apply technology to increase the efficiency of water use, including conservation agriculture, micro irrigation and rainwater storage. Bayley et al., 2011 Vertical crops in urban environments in order to reduce carbon emissions, save energy and reduce costs in packaging and transportation The analysis of the twelve selected articles indicates that global climate change is entering into a new era, causing social and economic damages, exposing communities to risk, exacerbating human vulnerabilities and affecting especially poor communities and developing countries, compromising food production and water consumption, besides reducing the access to modern energy. However, the authors emphasize that global climate change can be mitigated and societies can adapt to it through global cooperation. ...
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... Bayley et al. [94] Reduce competition for urban land through optimizing usage of urban areas. increases the Earth's Resilience to the WEF nexus, as well as the complexity of that domain. ...
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... Use food and grains waste to biofuels production Decreases the need to use water for the production of grains targeting biofuels Reduces energy expenditure with food production for biofuels Popp et al. (2014) and Grizzetti et al. (2013) Increase food production through sustainable crops A more sustainable production reduces the use of water and can be used for other purposes A more sustainable production reduces the use of energy and can be used for other purposes Bayley et al. (2010) Vertical crops in urban environments in order to reduce carbon emissions, save energy and reduce costs in packaging and transportation ...
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... . This competition between water, energy and food is causing land-use changes and environmental disruption by increasing greenhouse gas emissions, intensifying climate and environmental changes, causing environmental injustice and limiting the earth's carrying capacity (Schlör et al. 2017;Bayley et al. 2011;Ozturk 2015). The increasing occurrence of natural disasters, lack of fresh water (Damerau et al. 2016), intensification of food crises and shortages in energy supply (Scott et al. 2011;Caniato et al. 2017) are increasing the need for research that contributes to confronting these challenges, encouraging the maintenance of the world's natural resources and providing reliable data to assist decision and policy making. ...
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... Also spontaneous vegetation can contribute to greening buildings (Jim and Chen, 2011). Green roofs and faç ades can fulfil different functions as cooling (Ng et al., 2012), amenity (Tan et al., 2013), food production (Bayley et al., 2011) and biodiversity conservation (Ishimatsu and Ito, 2013). Tan et al. (2013) point out that so-called sky gardens can be very important assets for residents by improving living quality and contribute to a city's greenery. ...
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Chapter
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