Less waste, more food. These 15 amazing images will make you rethink farming forever.
True
Gates Foundation: The Story of Food

Can you imagine trying to feed 9 billion people?

I mean, it's hard enough to feed ourselves some days.

But come 2050, Earth will be responsible for feeding an additional 2 billion people roaming the planet. The question is: how to do that?


The answer isn't all horizontal. We can't keep clearing space and sending food halfway across the world. In fact, we need to look up. As in, like, literally grow food upward.

Vertical farms could be a big part of the solution to our food conundrum. And they are the coolest looking farms we've ever seen.

Image via CoolFarm, used with permission.

These bad boys look like something straight of the year 3000, only they're happening right now.

With traditional farming methods depleting the planet's resources, now is the time to look to alternatives that can help reduce that burden. To date, we've cleared space the size of South America for growing crops. And to make matters worse, 33% of the world's land surface is already degraded and can't be used.

Image via CoolFarm, used with permission.

Another problem is transporting food from point A to point B. For example, back in 2005, importing produce by plane into California alone released more than 70,000 tons of carbon dioxide — the same as over 12,000 cars on the road. Granted, this is a small sample size, but with an estimated 70% of the world's population expected to be living in cities by 2050, how are we going to ship food to them without destroying our air and water?

Vertical farms can grow produce with fewer natural resources and less waste. They can also optimize growing conditions so that the plants get the perfect amount of nutrients and light. (Hence the really cool lighting.) Plus, they're all across the world now, reducing the whole point A to point B problem.

Image via Green Sense Farms, used with permission.

They still have some pretty significant kinks to work out, though. For one thing, building and maintaining them is very expensive, so significant investment will be needed, and costs will need to come down to make them viable around the world. They also can't grow staple crops like grains and rice. They're not going to replace traditional farming anytime soon, but they could be a key piece of our food future — and researchers are hard at work to make sure vertical farm technology is constantly being innovated and improved so that this method is in peak form when it matters the most.

So, without further ado, here are 15 of the most awesome vertical farms sprouting up around the world:

1. AeroFarms in Newark, New Jersey

Image via AeroFarms, used with permission.

AeroFarms is believed to be the largest vertical farm in the world. Through their patented technology and controlled environment, they're able to give their crops the perfect amount of moisture and nutrients necessary to take their taste, texture, and color to a whole other level.

2. Square Roots Urban Growers in Brooklyn

Image via Square Roots, used with permission.

Square Roots co-founders Tobias Peggs and Kimbal Musk (brother of Tesla-founder Elon Musk) are paving their own green innovation using something with a distinct Brooklyn style — shipping containers. Even better, they're paying it forward and using their unique platform to inspire the next generation of real food entrepreneurs.

3. Plantagon's World Food Building in Sweden

Image via Plantagon, used with permission.

Still under construction, Plantagon's World Food Building aims to take the concept of vertical farming to heights it has never seen before. Once completed, the building's efficiency managing waste, water, and energy will be second to none.

4. Urban Crops' Plant Factory in Belgium

Image via Urban Crops, used with permission.

On top of conducting testing at their HQ in Belgium, Urban Crops also supplies their equipment to the world, so that anyone anywhere can create a vertical farm of their own.

5. Growing Underground in London

Just because you say vertical doesn't mean you can't look downward too. In fact, Growing Underground in London is the first vertical farm to do so. It's literally 100 feet below street level inside an abandoned WWII bunker. How cool is that?

6. Edenworks in Brooklyn

Image via Edenworks, used with permission.

On top of growing some of the freshest greens you can find in Brooklyn, Edenworks also raises fish in its indoor aquaponic farms. You can find their delicious, pesticide-free microgreens on the shelves of Whole Foods Market in Williamsburg, less than 24 hours from when it's picked.

7. Spread Co.'s Kameoka Plant in Japan

Image via SPREAD Co., used with permission.

Spread Co.'s Kameoka Plant is the largest-scale plant factory in the world to produce a single kind of lettuce. Their next step? Creating a technologically advanced automated facility.

8. PlantLab in the Netherlands

Image via PlantLab, used with permission.

The mission of PlantLab is straightforward — change the way we feed the world. To do that, they're using their revolutionary technology to not just grow produce efficiently, but also develop growing recipes based on their thorough customer and crop research. (That's right! Their ingredients have growing recipes!)

9. CityCrop in Greece

Image via CityCrop, used with permission.

Who said vertical farms had to be taller than you? This little guy from CityCrop is just one level, but it packs a big punch — it's perfect for home, allowing you to grow your own produce without ever having to go to the market. Or anywhere really.

10. Agrilution's plantCube in Germany

Image via Agrilution, used with permission.

Let's hear it for another little (but powerful) vertical farm! Agrilution's plantCube provides the complete experience and ecosystem for your home in a smart plug-and-play appliance. Oh, it also comes with an app so you can grow conveniently from your phone. (Wut?!)

11. Urban Farmer in the Philippines

Image via Urban Farmer, used with permission.

Mixing new technology with classic design sensibilities, Urban Farmer is distinctly Filipino, but international at the same time. And just like their fellow home models around the world, they're shortening the distance between farm to table to just a few simple steps.

12. Green Sense Farms in Indiana

Image via Green Sense Farms, used with permission.

When Bill Gates tweeted about the importance of the pink lights in vertical farming, he directed people to an article featuring Green Sense Farms. They're a full service one-stop shop that designs, builds, owns, and operates their vertical farms. That way, each little seedling can make its way to the supermarket with the utmost care.

13. Bright Agrotech in Wyoming

Image via Bright Agrotech, used with permission.

Like many other vertical farms, Bright Agrotech also supplies their technology to other aspiring farmers. And they're now the proud owners of the most installed vertical farm technology in the world. They're all about helping out local farmers, and they believe their work will be the future of food. We can't wait to see how that tastes.

14. GoodLeaf Farms in Canada

Image via TruLeaf, used with permission.

TruLeaf is the proud parent company of GoodLeaf Farms. TruLeaf takes care of all the technology and then supplies it to businesses and remote communities. GoodLeaf Farms, on the other hand, showcases all the leafy goodness that TruLeaf generates and supplies the largest food retailer in all of Canada.

15. CoolFarm in London

Image via CoolFarm, used with permission.

At their state-of-the-art test site in the U.K., CoolFarm highlights their incredibly advanced farming system that they're able to supply to more aspiring vertical farmers. They have iPad command centers, customizable parts, and a monitoring camera called "The Eye!" (Their name makes so much sense now.)

Today, there are still almost 800 million people who are chronically hungry. And by 2080, that number is expected to grow by 600 million more.

With continued innovation, vertical farms have the potential to be a key component of food access across the globe. They reduce carbon emissions, preserve land, and most importantly, expand everyone's tummies nice and horizontally. Solving the world's hunger and food access problems is going to take a lot of creativity, ingenuity, and solutions — both big and small.

And horizontal and vertical.

Pexels
True
Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Anderson Cooper has interviewed hundreds of people, from top celebrities to heads of state to people on the street. He is fairly unflappable when it comes to chatting with a guest, which is what makes his reaction while interviewing inaugural poet Amanda Gorman all the more delightful.

Gorman stole the show at President Biden's Inauguration with a powerful performance of her original poem, "The Hill We Climb." People were blown away by both her words and her poise in delivering them, especially considering the fact that she's only 22 years old. But it's one thing to be able to write and recite well, and another to be able to impress in an off-the-cuff conversation—and Gorman proved in her interview on Anderson Cooper 360 that she can do both at a level most of us can only dream of.

In the interview, Gorman explained how she dove into research to prepare her poem to fit the occasion, and then how that work was disrupted by the attack on the Capitol.

"I'm not going to say that that completely derailed the poem, because I was not surprised at what had happened," she said. "I had seen the signs and the symptoms for a while, and I was not trying to turn a blind eye to that. But what it did is it energized me even more, to believe that much more firmly in a message of hope and unity and healing. I felt like that was the type of poem that I needed to write and it was the type of poem that the country and the world needed to hear."

After explaining how she used tweets and articles and messages about the Capitol insurrection to hone parts of her poem, she shared thoughts on reclaiming the power of words.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.