The population of earth is expected to be 9.6 billion by 2050. We need to feed additional 2 billion people, a target which can only be achieved if we grow our food production levels up to 70% in the remaining 35 years. It is difficult, but not impossible due to technology progression in the field of farming in the last few years.

The agriculture setting differs greatly across the globe. Western countries have advanced technology and well-developed infrastructure on their side whereas much of Africa and South Asia is dependent upon weather conditions and absence of infrastructure and technology. The problems are many, but instigating smart urban farming is the solution. It makes more sense; as urban residents consist of 54% of the total population which should grow to 70% by 2050.

Concept of urban farming is to bring farming activities closer to end consumers. Recent developments brought awareness of growing plants and raising animals within and around urban areas, consequently bringing down food transportation cost and environmental problems. Urban farming will also help to reduce the gap between social classes as everyone shall have access to healthy food, which in turn help reduce obesity and diabetes among higher income group.

But where to grow food in cities with inadequate real estate? the Farming technique called Vertical Farming solve the real estate scarcity problem by growing food in vertically arranged areas; both indoors and outdoors. These urban farms not only take limited space but also help farmers to control some variables like light, temperature, atmosphere, water and nutrients. This concept of farming has already been adopted by cities with dense population and tall building like Singapore. Aquaponics indoor farms in Chicago can produce 15 cycles of the crop in a year as compared to traditional farming. China, facing growing population and contaminated water is putting extra efforts to bring agriculture closer to its people. “Agro-Parks” are introduced in urban areas, producing food and serving as educational tools for nearby residents.

There are still concerns among general public on the health factors of city-grown vs. country-grown food. This is an important concern keeping in mind the pollution levels in the cities across the globe. Smart urban farming still faces some issues to overcome. Engineers, Tech Expert and farmers must come together to devise a successful solution to the problem. It a long journey before urban farming go mainstream and challenge the traditional agriculture.

Data-driven technologies are used to rely on different technologies to effectively understand agricultural production. Farmers can use sensors to control seeding, fertilizer, irrigation and pesticide usage. According to research, data collected from data-driven technology can help reduce cost by 15% and water consumption by 30%. Data-driven technologies provide benefits to both farmers and consumers. Farmers can make better and informed decisions while consumers can become more aware about what they consume.

Smart cities are more focused towards building efficient long lasting infrastructure to help reduce cost of energy and better transportation, smart urban farming is still to be incorporated in the urban system. To resolve our growing food needs along with less carbon emission and environmental impact, smart urban farming might be the solution we are looking for.