Vertical farming companies from around the world have come together to release the emerging industry’s first collective manifesto, pledging to set out “clear and bold” sector-wide standards to help companies realize their potential to strengthen global climate action and food security.
More than 20 vertical farming firms endorsed the Vertical Farming Manifesto and Statement, which was released Tuesday at the World Vertical Farming Congress in Brussels, Belgium.
The papers set out the industry’s vision for how it can play its part in transforming current food systems to help solve what is described as “one of humanity’s most challenging challenges” – providing food for a growing population in a sustainable and circular way.
More than 20 vertical farmers from around the world have signed the Manifesto and Identity Statement, including Infarm, 80 Acres, AeroFarms, Bowery, Crop One, CubicFarms, Elevate Farms, Fifth Season, Fischer Farms, Freight Farms and Stacked Farm, among others.
Proponents of vertical farming, in which plants and crops such as fruits, vegetables, herbs and lettuce are grown indoors under controlled conditions in vertically stacked layers, argue that the practice offers many environmental and efficiency advantages over traditional farming methods. .
The industry manifesto states that vertical farming can help localize production, control the growing environment and protect crops from changing weather, while requiring less land and water. Moreover, he argues that vertical farming also results in lower emissions from transport and logistics, as such farms can be located in urban areas, closer to larger populations.
However, some critics question the energy footprint of this approach, and the industry, like many others, has come under pressure from skyrocketing energy costs.
The Identity Statement states that with the world’s population expected to grow to 10 billion by 2050, “current food systems cannot meet ever-increasing demand and provide reliable access to food,” and vertical farms therefore play a key role in creating more sustainable food system.
“We believe that vertical farming can make an important contribution to transforming and future-proofing our food systems,” it said. “By decoupling ecosystem destruction from food production through technological means, we are redefining farming from the ground up and being part of the solution to one of humanity’s most pressing challenges while reducing our negative impact on the planet.”
The identity statement comes after the industry has seen steady growth in recent years, with the market expected to surpass $30 billion by 2030.
“We see vertical farming as a technology that must augment and expand traditional agriculture to solve one of the biggest challenges of our time: feeding a rapidly growing population in an increasingly unstable climate without harming the planet,” the statement added.
The manifesto sets out a number of commitments for the sector, including its mission to “transform food systems for the benefit of people and the planet” and “contribute to addressing the deepening ecosystem destruction caused by technologically advanced food production”.
In addition, vertical farming companies that support the Manifesto have joined a number of widely recognized climate and environmental initiatives, such as the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), B Corp or the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Manifesto says . .
Two farms that have signed the Manifesto are from Great Britain. Lincolnshire-headquartered Jones Food Company claims to operate Europe’s largest vertical farm in Scunthorpe, growing more than 5,000 sq m.
“As our industry continues to grow, it is vital that we, together with our colleagues around the world, present a unified vision of what we are striving to achieve,” said James Lloyd-Jones, CEO of Jones Food Company. “Together, our voices are being amplified in championing the many benefits of vertical farming and what we can offer the global food system, namely; growing more of the tastiest, freshest food, using far fewer natural resources and bringing us closer to the food we eat.’
Jamie Burrows, CEO of London-based Vertical Future, said he was proud to sign the manifesto.
“Our company was founded to make a positive difference in the health of both people and the planet, and we have built a team that focuses on engineering and plant science to improve crop quality while reducing production costs, making products from Vertical Future systems accessible to everyone.” – he said.
https://www.businessgreen.com/news/4056633/vertical-farming-firms-launch-sustainability-manifesto-net-zero-commodities-hub More than 20 vertical farming companies have published the first sustainability manifesto