We anticipate the world’s population to grow by additional two billion people by 2050, and feeding these people will be a significant challenge.
Due to urbanization and industrial development, we are losing productive soil daily. In fact, scientists claim that our Planet has lost more than a third of its productive lands over the last 50 years.
And we are not certain about how much we will lose in the next couple of years. The ever-surging food demand due to increasing population and the ever-dwindling productive lands poses extraordinary challenges facing us today. Vertical farming could be the answer to these challenges.
What is Vertical Farming
Vertical farming is the exercise of producing foodstuff on perpendicularly inclined surfaces. Instead of producing fruits and vegetables and other foodstuffs on one level, such as a greenhouse or a field, this method farms foodstuff in vertically stacked layers often integrated with structures such as repurposed warehouses, shipping containers, or a skyscraper.
The unnatural control of humidity, light, gases, and temperature makes producing medicine and foods indoors achievable. Vertical farming is just like greenhouse farming, where artificial lighting and metal reflectors supplement natural sunlight.
One of the main elements that make vertical or indoor farming achievable is the advancement of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) such as vertical grow lights.
Because LEDs are more affordable and accessible, vertical farming is a realistic idea for numerous cities worldwide.
What Are Vertical Grow Lights
In simple terms, a grow light is an unnatural source of light, frequently an electric light, created to stimulate plant growth by releasing an electromagnetic spectrum suitable for photosynthesis.
Vertical grow lights are used in approaches where natural light lacks, or there is a need for additional light. For instance, during the winter months, you can use vertical grow lights to give additional light hours to stimulate plant growth.
You can also use to grow fruits and vegetables indoors.
Indoor/ Vertical Farming Techniques
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without any soil. In this method, the plants’ roots are immersed in liquid solutions containing many macronutrients such as :
The solution also contains trace elements such as :
Sawdust, sand, or gravel is used to replace the soil and to support the plant roots.
The major benefit of the hydroponics technique is that it reduces water usage and increases yield per area.
NASA (the National Aeronautical and Space Administration) motivated the invention of aeroponics to come up with a successful way of growing healthy plants in space in the early 1990s.
It does not need soil or liquid medium to grow plants in. Alternatively, a liquid solution loaded with nutrients is misted in an air bower where plants are suspended.
Aeroponics is the most appropriate indoor farming technique. It can use up to 91% less water than most successful traditional hydroponic systems and needs no growing medium substitution.
Furthermore, the absence of any growing medium enables aeroponic to espouse vertical design, saving the energy more because the gravity drains any excess liquid automatically. You do not need a water pump to control excess solution, as is the case for horizontal hydroponic systems.
Presently, aeroponic systems are not applied widely to indoor farming but are beginning to attract considerable attention.
Aquaponics is a combination of two words :
Aquaculture – touches in fish farming.
Hydroponics – refers to a method of growing crops without using soil.
Aquaponics integrates terrestrial crops with aquatic animals’ production in a close-up wreath that imitates nature itself.
A solid removal unit filters nutrient-dense water from the fish keg and then leads it to a bio-filter, where poisonous ammonia is changed to highly nutritious nitrate. The plants then decontaminate the wastewater while absorbing the nutrients. The waste is then recycled back to the fish keg.
The crops ingest carbon dioxide the fish produces. In contrast, the water in the fish kegs acquires heat. It assists the greenhouse in retaining temperature at night to save power.
Lastly, it’s critical to be conversant with changes in vertical farming as the technology keep advancing. Use a methodical approach while waiting for new opportunities so that you can grab them as they come.