Our population keeps growing and by 2050, it’s expected that there’s an additional 2 billion people. Finding and growing food is already a challenge today, imagine what it will be like to meet the market demands in the future. Because of the ever-growing market demands, more lands have been used either for farming, residential, and commercial spaces. We are having less space to work around and more people to feed.
The increasing demand has always been a challenge. Many think that the only way to solve this is through vertical farming. With the looming uncertainties ahead of us, is it really the future of farming?
What is Vertical Farming?
As the name suggests, it is the practice of farming where food is grown in stacks or shelves or any surface that is vertically inclined. Instead of using a field or planting them on the same level, vegetables and crops are stacked in layers that are integrated into other structures to make use of less space. This can be done in a shipping container, warehouse, building rooftops, and even at home.
It uses technology from Controlled Environment Agriculture, also known as CEA. The idea is to use indoor farming practices such as having a controlled environment where you can manage the humidity, temperature, light, or even the gases the plants produce.
The main goal of vertical farming is to make the most out of small spaces. This approach is cost-effective and efficient in the long run.
What are the Advantages of Vertical Farming?
Vertical farming brings a lot of advantages that anyone can benefit from. Here’s how vertical farming can help us:
Less Space Needed
As mentioned earlier, vertical farming makes the most out of small spaces. This makes it easy to squeeze into urban cities. Having it near cities means less transportation and shipping needed to go through, making fresh food accessible to people. With less space for farming, it produces more than it should. In the future, the technology will be further improved in order to feed the population.
Less Water Used
One of the problems that come with farming is having access to water. It’s one of the challenges that farms are facing today. Using vertical farming, the need for water to sustain plants is lessened by up to 90%.
More areas will be able to grow their own food. Even regions that have a dry climate will be able to grow crops with ease.
More Crops Produced All-Year Round
Using this technique isn’t as challenging as planting on farmlands. Mainly, due to the fact that agricultural lands need to rest from time to time. But in the future, this could bring food shortages to many countries.
Vertical farming won’t be restricted to these constraints. We also wouldn’t have to resort to using methods that can degrade the soil and the environment.
Since most crops are grown indoors, they can be planted and harvest all year round. A controlled environment means less worry about the weather and its negative effects. Not having to rely on the seasons to make food is a good way to avoid food shortages and solve food security.
Creates local livelihood
It’s not as capital intensive as traditional farming because you won’t have to worry about finding a land where to plant your seeds. There’s less barrier to enter the market. Locals can also try joining without having to suffer huge losses if they are unsuccessful. Moreover, it generates jobs in the cities.
Using chemicals will be lessened, for some, it won’t be needed at all. Chemicals can be harmful not just to the consumers but also to the farmers. To be honest, it’s more harmful to farmers than consumers since they are the ones who have direct contact with the chemicals.
As the world progresses, new challenges will be brought up. It’s important to understand the cause of these problems to effectively make policies and actions that solve them. Vertical farming’s main goal is to meet the growing demand for food without having to sacrifice the environment or the market.
It makes use of unused or even abandoned properties and it’s an industry that can give many opportunities to people. Fewer resources are needed to sustain vertical farming, making it one of the most lucrative industries.