Do we need vertical farming? - How high-tech vegetable factories aim to save the world

With the decline of our soils, the drying up of groundwater sources and the continuing pollution of the environment by nitrates and pesticides, the intensive cultivation methods of today’s agriculture are reaching their limits. Added to this is the forecast that the world’s population will increase by 25 percent by 2050. All these people will need more nutritious food. Vertical farming is proposed as a solution. But is the market ready for these high-tech vegetable factories? Success stories and remaining hurdles provide an insight.

The promise and challenges of vertical farming

Vertical farming offers numerous advantages: Indoor systems require 95 percent less water, cultivation is pesticide-free and indoor farmers can grow 300 times more vegetables per square meter – vertically. However, high-tech factories are finding it difficult to establish themselves on the market.

Vertical farming: Clitec’s climate test chamber and growth chamber

To overcome some of these challenges, innovative technologies such as Clitec’s climate test chamber and growth chamber are being developed. Although not directly related to vertical farming, these chambers have parallels with the plant growth chambers used in research at universities and botanical institutes. Using similar principles of controlled environment agriculture, Clitec’s chambers provide a scalable solution for optimizing plant growth and experimentation in both academic and commercial environments.

Vertical farming: success stories and remaining hurdles

Success story: 80 Acres Farms

“What seemed unlikely eight years ago seemed like a dream five years ago, and today it’s happening,” says Tisha Livingston, founder and owner of 80 Acres Farms, currently the largest vertical farm in the US. She and her team are successful. Your business is expanding and is financially profitable.

Vertical farming challenges: Meier brothers and Alfred Grand

The Meier brothers, vegetable farmers in Switzerland, want to build a vertical farm. However, due to the enormous investment and energy costs, their vegetables would not be competitive on the Swiss market. The integration of technologies such as Clitec’s climate test chamber and growth chamber could potentially address some of these cost and efficiency issues and make vertical farming more viable for smaller farmers.

Austrian organic farmer Alfred Grand criticizes soil-less vegetable cultivation. He argues that vegetables from the factory lack important nutrients that strengthen the immune system. In his opinion, vertically grown vegetables are too sterile. However, advances in nutrient delivery within controlled environments, facilitated by technologies such as Clitec’s chambers, could address these concerns by ensuring that plants receive optimal nutrition during their growth cycle.

On the way to sustainable vertical farming

Environmental considerations: Yasai’s vision

Yasai, the largest vertical farm in Switzerland, aims to be an energy pioneer among vertical farms. They believe that vertical farming can only be an environmentally friendly solution if all factories worldwide are powered by renewable energy sources (SRF NZZ Format). The integration of energy-efficient technologies, such as those used in Clitec’s chambers, can help reduce the carbon footprint of vertical farms and align with the sustainability goals of farms like Yasai.


Overall, vertical farming offers promising solutions to the challenges of traditional agriculture, such as water scarcity and pesticide use. However, there are still hurdles ahead in terms of market competitiveness and addressing concerns about nutritional content and energy consumption. The future of vertical farming could depend on advances in technology, cost reduction and sustainability practices, with innovations such as Clitec’s climate test chamber and growth chamber playing a crucial role in overcoming these obstacles.

Interested in finding out more about the potential of vertical farming? Watch this insightful video about how high-tech vegetable factories are revolutionizing food production: SRF NZZ Format


NZZ format – do we need vertical farming? – how high-tech vegetable factories want to save the world (no date) Play SRF. Available at:%3Asrf%(Accessed: April 15, 2024).