Vertical farming is the technology of growing crops in vertically stacked layers, and this is a good solution to overcome many problems associated with food production. The world population is increasing every day simultaneously as the demand for food increases, so we have to move some innovative methods rather than traditional ones. Vertical farming is the best answer to full fill the food demand, and they are very productive because of no soil concept in agriculture.
In this article, we will share about vertical farming on sustainable agriculture and food security. You can understand the methods and advantages of the vertical farming process.
1. Traditional Agriculture Challenges
A. Land scarcity: This is a major problem in farming. People build new residential areas on agricultural land because of a growing population.
B. Water shortages: Water is an essential source of agriculture, and water shortages drastically affect food production.
C. Climate change: Climate change affects total food production because severe climate conditions reduce the yield of the field.
D. Pesticide and fertilizer use: Fields need more pesticides and fertilizer to get that target amount of yield. Pests are a common problem in traditional farms, so we use more pesticides to control them, and soil needs more fertilizer to get more yield.
Hydroponics is a vertical farming technique; plants grow in nutrient-rich water without soil. Soil is mandatory in traditional culture; however, this method is unnecessary for the soil to grow crops. It hugely impacts food production and destroys the barrier to agriculture. You can grow crops anywhere on the planet.
Aeroponics is an innovative method in vertical farming, and crops grow in the air without soil. Suspending the root of plants free in the air, where they are nourished by nutrient-dense sprays regularly. This is a sustainable method because of using less water. This method also increases photosynthesis, releasing a high amount of oxygen from leaves.
Commonly this is known as a combination of plants and fish in the same place. This is saved space because this concept is based on plants in the fish tank. You can get a double advantage via this technique.
2.4 LED lighting
LED lighting is a sustainable method in the vertical method because it can be given all year around, increasing the plants’ growth. Sunlight is not even throughout the year because of climate change.
3. Benefits Of Vertical Farming
3.1 Increased yield per square feet
Traditional farming depends on the available space of land. Here vertical farming process, the staking system is used, so the available space for farming is also more. Example: 10-20 acres of soil fields could equal one acre of vertical farm. Do you think how spacious to increase the yield per square foot? More space means more production.
3.2 Reduced water consumption
Water is a limiting factor in agriculture; however, vertical farming uses less water when we say, vertical farming needs approximately 10% water compared to traditional agriculture. Recycling and reuse of water allow for minimal usage of water.
3.3 Minimal pesticide and fertilizer use
Vertical farming is performed under a controlled environment. So pests cannot come into the system. We do not need to use pesticides to control the pests. Minimal use of this fertilizer leads to chemical-free food production, guaranteeing safe food for consumption.
3.4 Year-round production
Weather conditions do not control vertical farming. Here we are providing everything that needs to grow plants exclusively artificial. So, it is not necessary to worry about weather conditions to grow plants and do not wait for photosynthesis until sunrise. Production is the same throughout the year.
3.5 Local food production and reduced transportation costs
Commonly vertical farming is practised in the near-to-consumer living place, which massively reduces transport costs and provides more fresh products to consumers.
Finally, vertical farming is more innovative and advantageous than traditional farming methods. This method gives solutions for many problems which occur in traditional farming. No soil is one marvellous innovation because land scarcity is a big issue in the world’s growing population. Some food commodities cannot grow in severe weather conditions, but vertical farming destroys these barriers and produces more fresh fruits and vegetables.
Although there are some challenges and limitations, however, we can not avoid them. When we need more yield, we need to put in more effort. The initial investment is quietly higher than traditional methods. Energy consumption is also high because we provide everything artificially to grow, so we need the energy to build this controlled environment. Technical advancement is another issue, so we need knowledgeable persons to handle everything in vertical farming. Beyond these limitations, vertical farming is the best way to increase yield and reduce food insecurity.