Vertical indoor farms – growing leafy greens indoors in tall buildings – have many advantages (less water usage, less land occupied, growing close to consumers, faster plant growth) but have all failed financially because of the cost of powering lights to replace the sun. But what about horizontal indoor farms like the huge greenhouse in Loudon, an automated, hydroponic operation called Lef Farms, now owned by Brightfarms, that I have written about many times?
Canary Media has a story about the financial failure of vertical farms (story is here) that is dismissive of them, if not as businesses then as an important part of solving the food/climate conundrum:
Until someone figures out how to grow rice, maize, wheat and other major crops indoors at a reasonable cost, indoor farming won’t make much of a difference. My friend Ted Caplow co-founded BrightFarms, a hydroponic success story that raised more than $200 million and built six huge greenhouses to grow greens close to cities. But Caplow was never happy with the company’s limited ambition, and its leaders eventually forced him out.
“We were solving the lettuce problem, and I thought we might solve the strawberry problem,” he told me. “But we were never going to solve the food problem.”