Large green stretches of land filled with different kinds of veggies and fruits are fast becoming a picture painted by children only. Most rural lands are being converted into cities or have factories built on them. This is changing as much of the concept of agriculture as it is changing the picture of arable land as we know it.
The absence of land, however, is not giving any respite to the necessity of fruit production. Therefore, scientists are coming up with new ways of producing fruits and vegetables and addressing the need for agriculture. Several new technologies have come up which allow people to produce Greens vegetables and fruits of their choice in small agricultural setups. In modern terms, this is being called vertical farming because all the production is done in rows of shelves indoors. Artificial light along with nutrients filled solution replacing the traditional needs of Sunlight and soil.
The concept of vertical farming is quite revolutionary and required in the present times when the earth is threatened with space scarcity, global warming, and World Hunger. There is an increased risk of soil erosion drought flooding devastating storms than ever before. In such times, producing crops inside multi-storied buildings can actually help in increasing biodiversity reducing the serious pressure on the use of land and also creating more opportunities for production.
Vertical farming, as opposed to the traditional method, offers serious opportunities for growing more fruits and vegetables of better quality. By growing crops inside buildings, the produce can be actually protected from a lot of elements such as bad weather, different kinds of crop diseases, pests, etc. which compromise the quality and quantity of the production.
Features of Vertical Farming
Here are some of the features of vertical farming which show this new concept as an efficient one.
- Vertical farms do not depend on the availability of soil or sunlight. Most of these plants use a solution that contains all the nutrients required for their proper growth. The roots of the plants are soaked in this nutrition solution up to a certain length. The amount of nutrition is checked from time to time. The water level around the roots also has to be maintained on a daily basis
- All of the plants in vertical farming get their daily dose of light from the LEDs instead of the natural sunlight. The alternative sources of light and nutrition allow the plants to grow throughout the year with zero risks of crop failure. The amount of production in vertical farming is naturally much higher than that of traditional farming
- Indoor farming techniques cause less consumption of water. In present times, when there is water scarcity looming large it is very useful that you produce fruits and vegetables without wasting too much water. Indoor farming techniques like hydroponics recycles the excess water that is left after the plants have consumed the required amount
- Vertical farming does not allow the plants to get infected by diseases or pests. Therefore, these vegetables and fruits can be considered as completely organic because there is hardly any use of insecticides or pesticides. The production from the vertical farms is also of high quality and nutrition. Even the nutritional content of these vegetables and fruits can be controlled because all the conditions required for their growth can be controlled manually
Indoor farming is still being developed and requires the active support of interested people and investors to take it to the level of commercial farming. People are gradually becoming aware of the need for indoor farming and getting interested in various discussions that educate them regarding the requirement of vertical farming and the various techniques that can make it possible. Currently, more and more investors are gradually becoming interested in this new science; so, you can expect the costs associated with indoor farming to reduce substantially in the years to come. Indoor farms or vertical farms make use of enclosed structures similar to shipping containers or even warehouses. This is because it is easy to control the environment in such structures and create a place for indoor farming systems like aeroponic or hydroponic systems.
Vertical farms have the potential to act as an alternative source of food for the people on this planet. The fact that it does not pause the similar risks and volatility of conventional farming is an added advantage. However, they also leave behind a carbon footprint which depends on the source from where they draw the electricity for the light and power. However, renewable energy sources are being adopted for the purpose which will eventually bring down the carbon footprint and help the environment. This might not reduce the food prices but at least it will address certain environmental issues that might crop up with indoor farming.
Not one vegetable for all
Indoor farming can become a substantial source of food but it also has its limitations. Not all vegetables or fruits will come under its purview. For instance, vegetables such as pumpkin which can grow to very large sizes are best kept for traditional farming techniques. In the case of a commercial venture, it might be viable to grow large vegetables because it will improve their marketing success but for the average vegetable grower, it will not be the right option grows a large pumpkin in the terrace. There are a number of other vegetables such as small potatoes, tomatoes, leafy greens, and strawberry which can be safely grown in the small setup of indoor farming. In fact, in the case of hydroponics systems, it is advisable to have smaller setups so that they can be rotated around the house two the plants to get sufficient sunlight.
Indoor farming techniques are quite advanced and in the future can easily complement the traditional methods easily. It is environmental-friendly economically sensible as well as tech-savvy which is more than one can ask for in a future where agriculture is somewhat threatened. Indoor farming techniques like hydroponics are a reality in present times.