December 17, 2018

A Win for American Agriculture and Innovation: Farm Bill 2018

For the first time in U.S. history, urban and vertical farming are included in the Farm Bill. This is truly a watershed moment for American agriculture and an important milestone for the indoor vertical farming industry as we look to feed a growing American and global population, estimated to reach over 9.7 billion people by 2050.

Farming is an extremely challenging business with few other occupations requiring greater resiliency, determination, and unyielding belief. However, for some time, we’ve seen traditional agriculture hit with a ‘perfect storm’ of extreme weather eventsrising supply chain costs, rapidly declining arable landwater scarcitylabor shortagesfood safety outbreaks, and greater competition from imported food, to name a few.

As Americans, our response to adversity has always been to innovate. In our businesses, in our hospitals, and throughout resource-intensive industries like traditional field farming, our pioneering spirit to drive technological revolutions has never been stronger. It should be no surprise, then, that new innovations such as large-scale indoor vertical farming could help secure the future prosperity of all farmers.

In looking to agri-technologies that keep supermarket shelves stocked during adverse weather and consumers safe from food safety outbreaks, AeroFarms is an example of a company leading the way to create a better, more resilient, more abundant future for U.S. agriculture through clean, environmentally sustainable, and reliable food production.

As the world leader in large-scale indoor vertical farming, AeroFarms has invested millions in R&D to optimize our growing platform in order to provide a reliable supply of fresh produce to consumers in major population centers. AeroFarms has grown over 700 different crops to date and is able to grow with 390x more productivity than field farming with minimal impact on the environment. In fact, we grow using up to 95% less water, a fraction of the fertilizer, and no harmful pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. Beyond growing produce, AeroFarms’ data-driven technology can help lead to greater prosperity for field farmers due to our ability to isolate variables, test assumptions, and rapidly reduce the time and cost of plant-based R&D.

At this critical juncture, it is more important than ever that we engage more diverse voices who are dedicated to ensuring that U.S. agriculture has a bright and sustainable future. Senator Stabenow and her colleagues’ positive plan to establish an “Office for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production” and to develop an Advisory Committee within the USDA will serve as an important step in realizing this future.

We congratulate our elected representatives in Congress for showing courage and vision by including language in the Farm Bill that will support the work of companies like AeroFarms to find innovative solutions to promote the long-term viability of American agriculture. In doing so, they have demonstrated their commitment to American global leadership in agriculture, safe-to-eat food, good jobs, and a better future for the entire farming industry.

As a Certified B-Corporation, AeroFarms is transforming not only agriculture but also local communities as well with year-round jobs and increased access to safe, healthy, and delicious food. Our mission is to grow the best plants possible for the betterment of humanity. As we work toward a better, more prosperous future for American agriculture, let us envision a world where field and indoor farmers work together to create a better future for the next generation.

David Rosenberg co-founded and leads AeroFarms, a high-tech indoor vertical farming company recognized by Fast Company as one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies in Food.

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