In a few areas of the world, vertical farms have sprung up. These are corporate owned warehouses where crops are grown in stacked trays under fluorescent lights. They don’t use soil, the plants are grown in wet paper that is moistened with “nutrient water”.
This practice is wrong on many levels. Plants are meant to grow in soil and sunlight. There are so many trace minerals, nutrients with their natural cofactors, live probiotics, and enzymes present in healthy soil- it is impossible to reproduce these conditions in a wet paper substrate. The plants grown in these conditions will not be nutritious or healthy. I would argue it is cruel to them as organisms as well, plants should have rights too.
Vertical farming is extremely energy intensive, which would have grave environmental and economic consequences. (source)
It is prohibitively expensive to grow crops this way and only a large company can afford to do it. Farming should not be a big business affair- small organic farms are the solution and their food is much cheaper. Corporate proponents argue that Big Business produces cheaper food and this is not correct. Food was more affordable in the first half of the 20th century before the rise of Big Agriculture. Do no support these vertical farms. They mistreat the plants, the produce is not as nutritious, and they are yet another example of Big Agro trying to take the power of growing healthy organic food away from the small farmer and the people.