As we’ve pushed the boundaries of what farming is and can be—one of the most intriguing new innovations is controlled environment agriculture, which is essentially indoor farming. Perpetuated by the ever-growing investments in sustainability and plant-based eating, controlled indoor farming utilizes technology to create an ideal environment for growing fresh, pesticide-free produce 365 days a year in almost any location. This agricultural innovation opens up so many new opportunities, like allowing people in urban areas to grow local produce from right within the city, reducing environmental impacts such as land and food waste, pesticide and shipping emissions, and so much more.
Although indoor farming is still an emerging industry, there are no signs of it slowing down. In 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) started a new Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production, which has recently announced the availability of up to $4 million in grants to support the development of urban agriculture projects across the country.
Since the start of the pandemic, consumer interest in local products has only continued to accelerate. The companies spearheading the indoor farming movement—companies in our Goodfinds by Gordon program like Square Roots and Kalera—attribute it to another widely growing interest: environmentalism. Indoor farms use 90% less water than traditional farming and can produce the same amount of food in just 1 acre of space that would use 4-6 acres in the traditional method.
As indoor farming continues to become more widely available to grocery stores and restaurants, the ability to connect with customers over this incredibly exciting innovation will set the stage for differentiation in the marketplace, help businesses align with consumer values, and spark interest in more innovations to come in the future.
If you’re interested in learning more about indoor farming or would like to see how you can integrate its sustainably grown produce into your menu, the Goodfinds by Gordon program features several companies that are blazing the trail for indoor agriculture. Contact your sales rep or review the list of brands at gfs.com/goodfinds.