Farming is a noble practice that has allowed humankind to expand and grow. When thinking of such a practice, some may have the image of planting a seed in a flat field of soil. However, this image can be misleading for various reasons because culture and regions can play a factor in the type of farming technique used. Even before innovative farm systems like aquaponics and hydroponics became popular, there were already very distinct farming techniques created long ago by some cultures. From the paddy rice fields of China to the chinampas from Mexico, innovation has always been needed to conquer disadvantages. In these modern-times, vertical farming can be one of those innovations that may be needed to meet the demands of an ever-growing human population without further damaging our plant.
What is a Vertical Farm?
Vertical farming is the technique of growing crops in vertically stacked layers. In most cases, these techniques are maintained in controlled-environment agriculture. The goal is to optimize plant growth without the need or use of soil. Some notable soilless farming techniques that are implemented alongside vertical farming include aeroponics, hydroponics, and aquaponics. The implemented system can vary but in general, the cultivation of the crops is constantly having its temperature, lighting, irrigation, airflow, and nutrients monitored and adjusted. There is even the option to implement and combine other sustainable systems with Vertical farming to create a zero-fossil fuel system. A good option being solar panels to run the lights, pumps, and other systems.
Why is it imported?
The ever-growing human population has resulted in an increasing need for resources. One of the most valued resources being land due to various reasons like agriculture. Just recently a great example of this value was put to the test with the burning of the Amazon Rainforest for extra farming space. Modern agriculture has allowed for the expansion and growth of human civilization. Providing a consistent food supply to many but having a drastic impact on the surrounding ecosystems. Land space is valuable, especially today, for all the various possibilities that can be held and created in that space. As a result, there is habitat loss, pollution, genetic diversity loss, water waste, and much more due to the land being taken for human use. The same applies to large acres of farmlands used for food production. A Drive to San Francisco from Los Angeles is a great way to understand the scale of these farming operations used by humans. The farmland would stretch as far as the eye could see and continued for miles. At times, it could feel like being stuck in an endless loop. The scary thing is that even more land will be needed to maintain the future human population. If less land could be used to grow the same amount of food compared to the major farm, then it could be possible to someday revert the damage done to some ecosystems. The first step is to inform more people about this system’s potential.
Federman, Posted by Sarah, et al. “Vertical Farming for the Future.” USDA, 14 Aug. 2018, http://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2018/08/14/vertical-farming-future.
Horvath, Meghan. “Vertical Farming: What Is Vertical Farming?” Vertical Farming | What Is Vertical Farming?, http://www.foodunfolded.com/article/vertical-farming-whats-the-deal-anyway.
LeBlanc, Rick. “What You Should Know About Vertical Farming.” The Balance Small Business, http://www.thebalancesmb.com/what-you-should-know-about-vertical-farming-4144786.
“Vertical Farming.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 3 Dec. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertical_farming.