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There Vertical Farm it is the place where plants and vegetables grow without land, without pesticides and without producing waste. And since food is produced with plants, food also becomes carbon neutral. Why 'vertical'? Why one vertical greenhouse it occupies little land, developing in height, and can also be found in the city as a food factory. For example in cities like Milan in preview at EXPO 2015.
The first Italian prototype of Vertical Farm it was created by the Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development which presents it to EXPO Milan within the Future Food District. It's not a strange thing, just a place where new technologies change the way we produce food, setting new standards in 5 areas of scientific research: soil, water, energy, sustainable agriculture and safe food. Standards that obviously also impact on the transfer to the agro-industrial system.
There Vertical Farm of ENEA it means zero land, because plants and vegetables do not need soil to grow but only water and nutrients: the hydroponic cultivation system, which is already known, but brought to the nth degree with all the available knowledge. Vertical greenhouse is also zero pesticides, zero polluting emissions and zero waste production in addition to those that can be reused by turning them into a resource. Fertilizers and water are recycled and energy is green thanks to the use of renewable sources. Everything is traceable in the Vertical Farm and food safety comes first.
Feeding the planet is the theme of EXPO 2015. Here is precisely the Vertical Farm by ENEA. Producing food while saving soil, or without using its own, is a response to the global food challenge. But it also affects the country of Italy, which has lost over 6 million hectares of crops in 60 years. Today, 70% of the consumption of water resources in the world is linked to crops and livestock farming, and about a billion people suffer from malnutrition and have no access to drinking water.
And then there is energy. That 'burned' by the food chain accounts for about 30% of world consumption, while there are two and a half billion people without access to modern forms of energy, electricity at home for example. And in the future it will be more difficult because population growth, economic development and climate change will make competition for food, water and energy more intense. According to the OECD, world demand for energy and water will increase by 80% and 55% respectively by 2050. Meanwhile, FAO warns us that we will have a 60% growth in food demand.