Can vertical farms save the planet?

Vertical farms could be one of the most sustainable ways to meet rising food demand throughout the 21st century.

By 2050, the world population is expected to reach approximately 10 billion people — that’s about 2 billion more mouths to feed than today. Meeting that demand will be difficult. Doing so sustainably will be even harder, but perhaps necessary considering that producing more food through current practices would exacerbate both climate change and existing problems with the food supply caused by 20th-century industrial farming.

One problem is soil quality. Over the past 150 years, farming has depleted much of the world’s topsoil, while modern industrial practices like monocropping and chemical use have degraded soil quality, directly impacting the quality and amount of food farmers can produce.