Controlled Environment Agriculture

Circular Economy & The Role Indoor Farms Have

Indoor Farming & Circular Economy; indoor farms; vertical farming; agtech; agritech; precision agriculture
The circular economy is a concept that promotes sustainability by keeping resources in use for as long as possible and minimizing waste. Indoor farming, also known as controlled environment agriculture, is an innovative and sustainable approach to agriculture that can contribute to the circular economy. In this editorial, we will explore the implications of indoor farming in the circular economy, including opportunities and challenges.

Indoor Farming and Resource Efficiency

Indoor farming can potentially reduce traditional agriculture’s environmental impact in several ways. By bringing specific crop production into controlled environments such as greenhouses, warehouses, and vertical farms, indoor farming can minimize land use, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce reliance on chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

  1. Minimizing Land Use: Indoor farming can use space more efficiently than traditional agriculture. Vertical farming, for example, stacks layers of crops on top of one another, allowing for high crop yields in small areas. This can help to reduce deforestation and habitat destruction, as well as minimize soil degradation and erosion. By utilizing urban spaces, indoor farms can also reduce the need to transport agricultural products, further conserving land resources.
  2. Reducing the Use of Chemical Fertilizers and Pesticides: Indoor farming allows for precise nutrient delivery to plants through hydroponic, aeroponic, or aquaponic systems. These systems require fewer chemical inputs, reducing pollution and the risk of groundwater contamination and lowering the chances of creating pesticide-resistant pests. Furthermore, indoor farming eliminates the need for herbicides, as weeds do not thrive in controlled environments.
  3. Water Conservation: Indoor farming typically uses recirculating systems that recapture and reuse water. This reduces water consumption and minimizes water pollution associated with agricultural runoff. By using up to 90% less water than traditional agriculture, indoor farming can significantly alleviate the pressure on freshwater resources.
  4. Enhanced Biodiversity: By taking up less land, indoor farming can help preserve natural habitats and promote biodiversity. Moreover, reducing pesticide and fertilizer use has positive implications for nearby ecosystems, as it minimizes the risk of toxic chemicals harming wildlife.

Indoor Ag and Local Food Systems

As the world’s population grows and urban areas expand, the need for sustainable and efficient food systems becomes more pressing. Indoor farming, also known as vertical farming or controlled-environment agriculture, is one solution that has the potential to address food security concerns and positively impact the local economy.


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