• Columbo posted an update 1 week, 5 days ago

    Is the future of farming to be found in lorry containers for feeding massive cities?

    I can see the benefits of farming in confined spaces but the main cost was electricity. I can’t help feel that concept has been over complicated to needing huge amounts of energy and a need for solar power to keep costs down.

    Would it be too radical to grow in an environment with natural light and natural access to water?

    A field maybe?

    However to farm on the moon or Mars may be a benefit of this project.

    • What do you do when all the fields are full of skyscrapers?

      • Put fields on their roofs?

      • Maybe these containers could be put on rooftops as independent farmers/veg shops.

        It’s an interesting idea for colonisation in space. Would such a project work on the ISS?

    • There are all sorts of reasons why growing crops in fields is bad. These include:

      -Huge losses due to pests and diseases (and costs/ damage due to chemical treatment)

      -Water use efficiency. Not a problem in most parts of the UK, but globally a huge issue

      -Radiation use efficiency. Not necessarily a problem, but photosynthetic pigments only absorb in some of the solar spectrum, meaning that indirect illumination (with LEDs) can be more efficient than you might think.

      -Land area. Growth facilities allow you to stack crops, giving higher production per ha than using fields (again significant in some regions)

      -Distribution. Growing crops closer to population centres can save on transport cost.

      -Seasonal constraints

      I think it will be a long time before we see commodity crops being grown in indoor facilities, but for some species, indoor growth facilities are already commercially competitive in the UK.

    • This is a cool idea. You could even bury them underground in hot or cold climates and isolate the farm from harsh daily thermal cycling whilst still getting energy from the sun. All the more important as more and more regional climates go to hell.

      Eventually when low cost nuclear fusion is cracked (probably not soon…), you can then build very high density indoor farming by stacking farms in the third dimension. This will be excellent as then most of the land on the planet can be rewilded. Wouldn’t want to say if those future farms will look like a current farm in a container, or more like a chemistry lab and 3D printing facility.