Can indoor agriculture be a saving grace for climate change?

A new Clim-Eat Discussion Starter tackles the burgeoning field of indoor agriculture, exploring its potential to enhance food security amidst the challenges posed by climate change. The publication provides a comprehensive examination of the promises and challenges associated with greenhouse production, vertical farming, and controlled environment agriculture. “We firmly believe that indoor agriculture will increase in prominence in the food system and that it is a crucial component of a transformed food system,” writes Bruce Campbell, Clim Eat’s Chief Innovation Strategist and lead author of Discussion Starter #8.

Indoor agriculture is often heralded as a key player in the future of food systems, offering solutions to mitigate the negative impacts of traditional open-field farming. By reducing land use, enhancing water and fertiliser efficiency, and minimising pesticide needs, indoor agriculture stands out as a promising alternative. Yet, significant challenges remain, particularly in the realm of energy consumption and environmental impact:

“The Achilles heel of indoor agriculture production comes through high energy usage. If this is based on fossil fuels, then indoor agriculture has limited role to play in a food system that must transform under climate change,” writes Campbell on the challenge.

Clim-Eat’s Discussion Starter #8, ‘Indoor Agriculture: Can it make significant contributions to food security under climate change?’, highlights the importance of addressing these challenges through technological advancements, policy incentives, and strategic investments. By doing so, indoor agriculture can become a cornerstone of sustainable food production, capable of meeting the demands of a changing climate and a growing global population.

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