Vertical farming – growing crops indoors – is on the rise, according to new figures.

By 2022 it is estimated the market will be worth more than $6 billion. That’s the figure cited in Market Research Engine‘s report: Vertical Farming Market by Growth Mechanism, Functional Mechanism and by Geography – Global Forecast to 2022.

With vertical farms, plant cultivation is carried out in multi storied building greenhouses using hydroponics or acquaponics growth mechanism. Skyscrapers, warehouses and shipping containers are some of the unusual environments vertical farms can be grown in. Gone are the green fields and countryside, replaced by indoor vertical farms constructed along “major distribution routes and near population centres”.

And this is no gimmick, it represents one important solution in the fight against an ever worsening global food crisis. With the world’s population predicted to rise to 9.6 billion by 2050, up from 7.2 billion today – and 66% of that projected to be urban, according to  UN figures, conventional farming will not be able to meet demand.

One of vertical farming’s industry leaders is AeroFarms, a pioneering company committed to combating the “global food crisis with technology”. Headquartered in Newark, NJ – home to the company’s ninth and the world’s largest vertical farm – AeroFarms launched in 2004.

“We grow delicious, nutrient-dense leafy greens and herbs without sunlight, rain or soil. Our crops get the perfect amount of moisture and nutrients misted directly onto their roots in a completely controlled environment. We have optimized our produce for taste, texture, color and nutrition to set a new culinary standard,” AeroFarms said.