Claim: Indoor Farms can Solve Climate Crisis Weather Disruption

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LED grow lights with two potted plants. By Sunshine 117 [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Essay by Eric Worrall

Apparently the amount and cost of electricity to run the indoor grow lights is a problem.

Vertical farms, indoor crops a growing trend as climate change drives advances in protected farming

ABC Southern Qld / By David Chen

Australia’s rich food bowl regions keep the nation fed but a year of storms and floods has repeatedly put them to the test and added to the soaring cost of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Climate-driven events are forecast to increase in the future but supply shortages experienced across the country this year could become a thing of the past as producers use their ingenuity and pivot towards indoor farming to shore up food security.

In a cavernous 4,000-square-metre warehouse on the Gold Coast, soon-to-be-planted lettuce seedlings will be safe from the elements.

Once complete in July next year, the company expects to produce about 400 tonnes of lettuces a year, supplying businesses including local high-end restaurants and fast-food outlets. 

The amount of electricity required is another barrier to indoor farming and with recent spikes in prices, that has been a problem in Europe and the United States.

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Greens seem curiously attracted to the idea of indoor farms. In 2018 WUWT covered an indoor farm in a carpark in Sydney, they wanted to solve the world’s food problems by growing mushrooms in coffee grounds, and other vegetables under grow lights. But Sydney is a very expensive place – in most cases in a situation like that, it would surely make more economic sense to grow vegetables in a field outside of town, and drive them in by truck every morning.

Indoor farming and hydroponics can massively improve yield, which can sometimes make economic sense with high value crops like orchids and other premium flowers, and in places where land is expensive, or for an in-demand product like high value off-season fruit and vegetables.

Mushrooms are frequently grown indoors – the high value and need to maintain optimum growing conditions makes indoor cultivation viable.

The father of an old school friend at one stage had $50,000 worth of rare orchids growing in his small back yard – more value per square yard than an illegal dope plantation. Until someone stole all the plants when the family was away on holiday. He wasn’t growing indoors, but with plants that valuable, the cost of building a small indoor growing facility could potentially be dwarfed by increased profit, if growing indoors significantly increased yield.

Such high value plants are the exception rather than the norm. So long as energy and setup costs remain significant, I doubt indoor farming will substantially displace traditional farming for the foreseeable future.

via Watts Up With That?

December 7, 2022

Claim: Indoor Farms can Solve Climate Crisis Weather Disruption — Watts Up With That?