Capitalising from an unsustainable food market has left its effects on the earth whilst climate change is making us shift the way we not only consume food but also how we harvest it.
Currently, a successful crop yield is determined by factors such as soil structure, nutrients, water and temperature and yet with an ever changing climate influenced by the modern world, it poses a fundamental challenge for the plants along with the consumers due to soil degradation where ‘physical, chemical and biological decline in soil quality’ takes place and as a result, less produce can be produced and harvested. With this in mind, “access to high-quality food produced sustainably is a pressing problem in both developed and developing countries.”
In order to manage with the ever changing issues the world is facing within sustainability and climate change, local and international pioneers are leading the way forward in establishing a sustainable farming system through a new innovation of hyperlocal vertical farming which removes the current necessities of pesticides along with harmful fertilisers which “pollutes the atmosphere with climate-altering greenhouse gases.” By eliminating the waste elements, a new refined and balanced farming method is making its way into the wider world.
Vertical farming is becoming more extensive due to its precision method of farming as “the farmer can control the environment – lighting, temperature and water provision – without having to suffer the vagaries of the weather.” Alongside these benefits, this style of farming can be achieved in any space, be it a greenhouse or in open air and with vertical farming rising in awareness, the industry is“set to rise to £9.84 billion by 2026”.
In a study by The Global X AgTech & Food Innovation ETF (KROP) which specialises in companies advancing innovation and the use of technology in the agriculture and food industries, their forecasts suggest “the global market for agricultural robots could reach $21bn by 2026, almost triple the market size in 2020.”, According to KROP "The AgTech (Agricultural Technology) and Food Innovation theme could potentially benefit from helping address global food insecurity and minimising the adverse environmental impacts of large-scale agriculture."
With businesses, investors and chefs taking interest in sustainability, chef David Hill spoke with HOP on vertical farming and the efficiency behind this new power house of sustainability. David told HOP “I first came across the concept properly last November and I was wowed by the ethical and sustainable practices that you can implement…I am now producing 80% of the herbs from the towers which the restaurant and kitchen uses."
With positive results, David highlighted that the system of hyperlocal farming is combating one of the biggest problems in the modern world, plastic.
He said “produce come heavily packaged and this is something that I really want to cut out…if I can eliminate 80% of purchasing on heavily packaged herbs and produce then I feel that I have made significant progress as an individual and as a business…With hyperlocal farming vertical farming, it cuts out our petrol needs and consumption. Alongside this, it also gives us food security going forward, especially after the pandemic and the suez canal.”
Vision of the future of food has also allowed industries like that of the edible insect market to expand in numbers despite rigmarole faced through brexit legislation. Chefs like that of David Hill are continuing to hone their skills within modern eating to which David told HOP that “Chefs and even home chefs need to find a way to utilise edible bugs effectively within our food in order to make tasty and sustainable meals….this needs to become something we have in our day to day diet….Anyway we can maximise and utilise this resource is great for the planet and in creating sustainable food for the future.”
As the skyscrapers of the future grow, so too does awareness on the food system and on the edible insect market which is key in expanding food diversity along with reflecting to a wider community that they encompass a new food system that matches environmental, social or economic goals.