At the end of 2018 RESET writer Indra Jungblut gave a keynote all about Vertical Farming. Here's a look back at the event.
With climate change disrupting rural agriculture all around the globe, urban dwellers are facing a new challenge. Cities will have to become less dependent on rural areas and global logistics chains to provide them with the food they need to feed their inhabitants - in the new future, they'll have to start producing food themselves. And at the same time, we need to expand traditional farming to include more weather-resistant, climate- and resource-friendly farming methods.
Innovative cultivation methods and technologies are being worked on all around the globe to help find answers to these major challenges. One concept is vertical farming. On the 10th of October 2018, I gave a talk on the topic subject for RESET at an event organised by the Volks- and Raiffeisen banks called "Tag des ländlichen Raumes" (Day of Rural Areas) just outside Berlin.
The overall aim of the event was to present new trends in agriculture and nutrition, which could create opportunities for rural areas and the event's programme was very diverse - including a personal talk by entrepreneur Sarah Wiener about her experiences as a farmer, a key note on regional superfoods, a closer look at village life and its future potentials and a meteorologist's take on the importance of climate change for the region of Berlin and Brandenburg. My key note has now become a background article - including information on how vertical farming works exactly, a look at some of the most interesting and inspiring projects in cities around the world and a look forward to the future of indoor and vertical agriculture: Vertical Farming: Will the Food of the Future Grow Inside, Underground and Up in the Sky?
In discussions with visitors at the event, but also during Sarah Wiener's lecture and in the discussion that developed after my key note, one thing became quite clear among the many, very diverse voices: there are many discrepancies and contradictions between city and country, between policies, users and consumers. Most consumers no longer have any contact with where their food comes from, which leads to them making demands that are difficult for many farmers to meet. For example, while the majority of consumers want to buy as cheaply as possible, they're also against mass livestock farming and monocultures. At the same time, our globally networked world market is currently promoting intensive agricultural practices that are unsustainable for humans, the environment and animals - and as a small to medium-sized farm working within this context, it is extremely difficult to survive. What can we do as consumers? It's time for us to use our purchasing beaviour to support alternative models and exert pressure on key policy makers.
This is a translation by Marisa Pettit of an original article that first appeared on RESET's German-language site.