Cities and urban areas have long been known as the "concrete jungle," but for a long time, the closest you could get to fresh produce in a city was at the local grocery store. In recent years, however, there have been proposals to grow food in urban environments primarily through rooftop gardens and greenhouses.
A Dutch firm called PlantLab is taking this idea a step further and claims to have devised an urban farming method so efficient that the world's food supply could be grown and harvested in an area smaller than the Netherlands (Holland), using only 10% of the water a traditional farm requires.
The idea is radical, but has already been tested in Japan with very promising results. One Japanese prototype urban farm was actually a staggering 100 times more productive than a traditional farm.
The world's population is increasingly migrating to large cities, and the vast majority of us will end up living in a city in the decades to come. PlantLab's idea would involve using existing basement space (as well structures specifically made to be growhouses) for food production using cutting-edge indoor farming techniques.
Urban farming allows the grower to be completely in control of all variables like temperature, humidity, light and more. Farmers can even take advantage of custom lighting to further enhance yields, as studies have found that different plants do indeed respond better to different wavelengths of light. Indoor farming also keeps plants free of pests and weather damage.
Thanks to new innovations in lighting and systems automation (things like smart thermostats, etc.), urban farming can actually be significantly more productive and cost-efficient than traditional farming. Here's hoping the idea takes off so we city-dwellers can enjoy some fresh, truly locally grown produce too.