Vertical Farming might sound very futuristic, although it has been around for centuries. There is however a distinction between the historical and modern vertical farming. To find the first records of vertical farmers, we go back to 600BC.
In this period, the Babylonian empire was thriving. Countries in the Middle East have shown throughout history to have some of the greatest innovations – Just think about the Arabic numbers we have adopted globally! Vertical Farming appears to have found its first form here, in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. With structures up to 20 metres high, and water from the Euphrates river, this was a marvel of engineering back then.
On the other side of the world, around the year 1000, the Aztecs used a form of hydroponics to cultivate crops. Their floating gardens, called “Chinampas”, had crops on floating rafts. This agricultural technique was developed to support the growing population of their cities.
In 1951, the first true vertical farm was built in Armenia. A tower full of crops which were produced hydroponically was truly revolutionary, yet this new way of agriculture faded away. It was not the moment of fame yet, but it shows the drive for agricultural innovation.
In 1991, the first academic definition of a modern vertical farm was developed by Professor Dickson Despommier. Together with his class, he searched for alternatives for traditional agriculture to tackle the growing need of food supply.
In 2011, vertical farming really started to kick off. AeroFarms was one of the first companies to build an automated controlled environment agriculture farm. It goes without saying that this was a success. Over the years the sector has grown to a multi-billion dollar industry, with great grow potential ahead.