Growing food crops in a series of layers in a high-rise building is no solution for New Zealand, a new study has found.
By Eric Frykberg
Nov 28, 2018
She found the requirement to replace solar energy for photosynthesis with electricity for artificial lighting and temperature control would be too expensive.
This was especially true in New Zealand, which enjoyed high levels of sunshine hours and had enviable growing conditions.
High capital investment and operational costs were another problem.
In addition, there were limits to the kind of crops that could be grown in a vertical farm, which were mainly leafy greens or herbs.
Ms McClung said three growers in New Zealand had investigated establishing a vertical farm in New Zealand.
They did not proceed due to economic unfeasibility, but would not rule out the method becoming economically viable.
Even then, it would suit local markets, more than exporters.
In the meantime, government policy should carefully address the problem of diminishing productive land and food security in New Zealand, Ms McClung said.
She suggested two solutions to the problem, one was stopping urban development from sprawling over farmland by making cities grow up, not out.