A New York-based sustainability strategist, Henry Gordon-Smith, said more and more young people were attracted to vertical farming.

Vertical farming is producing food on vertically stacked layers, or in high rise buildings, rooftops, glasshouses, warehouses, or shipping containers.

He said it was becoming increasingly popular in countries such as the United States, Germany and the Netherlands.

Mr Gordon-Smith said like America, New Zealand had an ageing farming demographic and often struggled to get youth into the sector.

“It goes back to the shift of urbanisation and the separation of the farm and the city. As a result a lot of families don’t typically raise their kids to say ‘you should be a farmer’,” he said.

“That’s a big problem, especially in a New Zealand context. It’s the biggest industry in New Zealand so why would you avoid that?”

Mr Gordon-Smith said many people didn’t see a future in farming and that needed to change.

“I think we really need to think about how we’re going to catch up with 30 years of decline in young farmers in America, and other parts of the world, and I think this technology is one way to solve that.

“It’s to say you don’t have to leave the city to be a farmer, you can be around your friends, you can go to the best universities, all the best bars and live in the best apartments, but you can also be involved in something that’s meaningful, something that’s feeding our population, something that’s contributing to sustainability – I think that’s what vertical farming provides.”

Source: Vertical farming solution to urbanisation