Making Vertical Growing More Lucrative with Mobile Storage
The words “farming” and “agriculture” conjure up images of sprawling green fields, tractors hauling in the harvest, and big red barns, but today, 1/5 of our food comes from somewhere else – urban farming. With over half the earth’s population living in urban areas, it can be difficult and expensive to get fresh produce from rural farms to city-dwellers. To make matters worse, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) estimates that 80% of the world’s productive land is already in use. Indoor vertical growing is a popular solution to these issues, and it’s gaining traction from growers and investors alike for its environmental and economic impacts.
The benefits of indoor vertical growing are clear. Urban indoor farms can produce multiple harvests of foods like lettuce, tomatoes, herbs, and other greens year-round in any climate utilizing special, colored LED lights. Because the plants are inside, weeds and bugs don’t pose a threat, eliminating the need for herbicides and pesticides. The food is produced in the same city where it’s consumed, which drastically reduces transportation costs and emissions while providing a fresher product to consumers. Old warehouses and abandoned buildings can be converted into vertical indoor farms to utilize otherwise idle urban properties.
Perhaps most impressively, indoor vertical growing operations can grow 30 acres worth of produce in 1/5 of an acre using stacked racks of soil or aquaponics. But even with such a notable reduction in space, indoor vertical farms can be a costly endeavor. Urban property – even warehouse space – comes at a high cost, and initial construction or renovation costs can be prohibitive. Energy costs can be extremely high between temperature controls, humidity controls, and running photosynthetic grow lights. Because indoor vertical farms can only produce a fixed amount within their space, it’s difficult to sell to larger grocery store chains, calling into question the scalability of vertical growing.
In a low-margin industry like food production, it’s extremely important to operate as efficiently as possible and create higher yields. High-density mobile shelving like ActivRAC can increase vertical growing space by up to 50% without additional square footage. By mounting existing or new plant shelving onto carriages that move along rails, high-density mobile storage eliminates static aisles and wasted space. Additionally, ActivRAC systems can hold up to 30,000 pounds to accommodate the weight of soil, aquaponics, lights, and plants.
The space saved by switching to mobile plant storage can translate to a drastically larger harvest. In an 8,000 square foot facility, adding even 30% more storage space with ActivRAC would mean an increase of 2,400 square feet, the equivalent of 9 acres of traditionally farmed produce. More food per square foot also means more profitable use of the energy and warehouse space you’re already paying for, and opens up the possibility for a more scalable production level. One indoor growing facility increased growing space by 500% by switching from traditional horizontal growing to an ActivRAC mobile vertical growing system. This allowed them to save 30% on the cost of leased space and add 1,100 more lights to increase their yield.
With corrosion-resistant stainless steel options, high density mobile storage can help you grow more in less space – and grow your profits in the process. Learn more about ActivRAC heavy duty mobile systems by downloading the info sheet below or read about how one Colorado company utilized ActivRAC for vertical growing.