There are a number of good reasons to grow soy in controlled environment agriculture (CEA).
Firstly, there is the power to drastically reduce the land and resource impact of growing this major world crop.
Then there is also the fact that, if we can figure out how to vertically farm soy, with all the cost and economic challenges, we can do it with anything!
The Problems With Current Soy Growing
Land use, deforestation, biodiversity loss, pesticides, fungicides, fertiliser run-off & aquatic dead zones, soil damage, carbon emissions, loss of ecosystem services, social & community harms... the list of problems associated with conventional mass-scale monocultural farming of commodity crops is both long and deeply worrying.
It's clear that things can't continue as they have done up to now. Whilst efforts are being made to reduce these harms in a variety of ways, the potential role of vertically farmed soy has not been adequately considered - which is what we want to change!
But that's not enough...
Just growing soy in VF, though a brilliant idea, is not going to be enough to do the job - there's a whole bunch of other stuff we're going to have to do as well! See below for some examples of that
A rapidly growing population and the lifting of millions out of poverty in the developing world, means a fast growing future demand for protein. We know that this cannot be addressed through meat alone, due to the harms caused by factory farming. Alternative proteins offer, well, an alternative!
High-Tech Ecosystem Farming (HTEF) is the idea and practice of linking together different controlled environment modules, into an ecosystem. The goal is to
facilitate the flow of resource and waste streams between modules, to maximise efficiency, sustainability and systemic resilience
The circular economy is about abandoning the previously established take-make-waste system and replacing it with systems that reuse & recycle resources. Energy use is a major component of both sustainability and cost for CEA, so the circular model is the way we need to go!