'New wave' revolution in city-focused, closed environment food production

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

A new wave of city-focused food production, variously known as 'plant factories' (vegetable factories or fruit factories), or 'vertical farming' or simply as 'closed environment agriculture' (CEA) is sweeping the world. As opposed to open-air agriculture, with its vulnerability to seasonal disturbances, its high dependence on water and chemicals as fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, all with uncontrolled run-off, the new approach is based on contained systems, utilizing renewable resources and recycling, and producing sustainable yields that can scale up to cope with surging urbanization and growth in global population. This article reviews the developments worldwide in CEA and identifies the main features, which are fivefold: (1) producing more with less, (2) continuously, (3) with clean practices, (4) in a controlled environment and (5) with an urban focus. The article develops an argument as to why the new wave resembles manufacturing more than traditional agriculture, and enjoys cost and efficiency gains that are likely to prove decisive in competition with traditional food production methods, particularly as the wave diffuses beyond leafy vegetables to encompass fruit vegetables, fruits, berries, fish and seafood and eventually staple crops starting with rice.

LanguageEnglish
Article number006
Pages1-16
Number of pages16
JournalCAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources
Volume13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

Fingerprint

food production
Agriculture
fruit
agriculture
Fruit
factories
Food
vegetable
Vegetables
vegetables
leafy vegetable
traditional agriculture
traditional farming
renewable resources
fruits
traditional foods
seafood
staples
green leafy vegetables
renewable resource

Keywords

  • Closed environment agriculture
  • Fruits
  • New wave food production platform
  • Plant factories
  • Rice cultivation
  • Vegetables
  • Vertical farming

Cite this

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'New wave' revolution in city-focused, closed environment food production. / Mathews, John A.

In: CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources, Vol. 13, 006, 01.01.2018, p. 1-16.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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