Vertical farming expert suggests urban and rural farmers can learn from eachother

Rural Exchange 02/12/2017

There is a global trend that is luring farmers indoors to grow vertically. One expert sees it as more than a trend, but rather a solution for dwindling space in urban areas like Auckland.

Henry Gordon- Smith, co-founder of the Association for Vertical Farming, chats with the Rural Exchange team to discuss the benefits and challenges of vertical farming.

Mr Gordon-Smith is a sustainability strategist focused on urban agriculture, water issues, and emerging technologies - who popped by New Zealand for the MPI Food and Fibre Innovation Conference in Wellington.

“It’s really about 3-dimensional farming,” says Mr Gordon- Smith. “It’s about farming in vertically-inclined surfaces, or stacked levels.”  

He got his start in vertical farming years ago when he met a young man who was farming in people’s backyards.

“I thought that this was such a creative way to solve the problem of food security in urban areas.”

Most vertical farming success stories involve small-scale urban projects, with failures tending to occur when the farmer tries to go “too big, too fast”.

Mr Gordon-Smith explains that both rural and urban farmers could probably learn a thing or two about each other’s’ industries.

“The connection between urban farmers and rural farmers is quite limited in general,” he says. “I think that needs to change.”

Watch the full interview with Henry Gordon-Smith above.

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