Is Vertical Farming Cities’ Saving Grace?

Aug 19, 2020 / by Rich Pelkofsky

COVID-19 has left a trail of destruction in its path. Spreading across the world, it has weakened businesses and industries as people and governments respond to the challenges associated with the ongoing pandemic. The Farm and Agriculture industry is no exception, having experienced disruption due to the deadly virus. In some locations, workers were sent home and transportation was stalled, leaving the tables of millions of families without the produce they so rely upon.

The interruption of the food supply chain hit cities that rely upon products from the south, which was particularly hard by COVID-19. In Britain, farmers had begun to adopt a new farming technique in an attempt to qualm this growing problem – vertical farming.

Using vertical farms, farmers can grow more produce in less time and space–appealing benefits during dire times. Vertical farming is also respectful of social distancing, because it’s largely self-sustainable, cutting down on staffing needed to manage it. In addition, the farming technique can be done entirely remotely, with technology able to control lighting, temperature, and other environmental conditions. Vertical farmers can monitor all these factors and view their crops from home.

According to “Coronavirus Crisis Fuels Interest in Vertical Farming,” from the Financial Times, farmers only need to [physically go to their farms] once every six months! In this time, farmers can grow more produce, supply cities with food, and lessen the spread of COVID–19, especially when adopted in an urban setting.

Vertical farming is quite costly, however. Experts emphasize being strategic about the types of crops grown, focusing on plants with high-profit margins like leafy greens, rather than commodities like potatoes.

Adopting a vertical farming technique will benefit production and income and alter the needs for insurance coverage. Vertical farming has proven to be exceedingly reliable because it doesn't fall victim to the natural perils traditional crops face, including adverse weather conditions like rain, hail, and wind. This lessens the need for insurance coverage against natural disasters and other external perils.

The adoption of vertical farming can help cities thrive, opening up an entirely new industry that has previously been dominated by the south. With urban, vertical farms, cities will gain easy access to an abundance of produce not easily accessible during times such as COVID-19. There will be less of a burden on logistics companies to move the produce safely and efficiently across the country, making it faster and easier for Americans to feed their families.

AAIS is currently working to create coverage for vertical farms and their unique needs. As COVID-19 continues to impact the world, vertical farms continue to grow in popularity. And when they need coverage, AAIS Members will be ready.

Tags: Issues & Trends, New/Emerging Risks, Farm & Ag, Farming

Rich Pelkofsky

Written by Rich Pelkofsky

Farm & Ag Product Manager - Rich is AAIS’s Farm & Ag Product Manager, responsible for developing and maintaining our Farm & Ag products and partnering with the Far & Ag insurance community. Rich has spent more than 30 years in Agricultural insurance as an agent, agency owner, marketing representative and Senior Product Specialist in Farm forms. Rich has received his CPCU, CRM, CIC, AFIS and CCP designations.

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