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While vertical farms can help with local hunger issues and sustainability, there are some barriers that may keep them from gaining worldwide traction. The cost of setting up a vertical farm can be prohibitive. Conservative estimates put the initial start-up cost at around $110,000, but there are estimates upward of millions of dollars.
Tucked away in a dark, damp corner of an underground parking lot in Nowon-gu, northeastern Seoul, mushrooms mature under fluorescent lights. The vertical farm is tended by residents who live right above it, in Sanggye Hyundai Apartment Complex.