Farming is usually associated with rural landscape. It needs large area to plant crops. With world population increasing at a fast pace, where would we the area to grow crops in future. How will so many people be fed? Vertical farming is the answer to all this. In vertical farming, plants (or animals) are cultivated vertically in skyscrapers. This will solve the problem of space crunch. Massive greenhouse skyscrapers can feed thousands of people.
Though the idea of vertical farming has existed historically as seen in Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the modern vertical farming is a little different. It uses techniques similar to greenhouses. In these farms natural sunlight can be augmented with artificial light, and temperature can be maintained artificially. Plants or animals are mass produced in artificial environments within skyscrapers. Many vertical farming designs have been proposed over the last few years but whether they will be useful and practical, is yet to be seen. Despite various advantages and advances, high cost of vertical farming is still putting off people from trying this concept wholeheartedly.
Let’s take a look at various advantages of vertical farming and evaluate how it can change the way we perceive agriculture.
Optimum use of space
Vertical farming addresses the main concern of crunch of space especially in urban landscape. With this method we can plant and grow more in limited area of land, as the crops will grow vertically.
Grow more all year round
Indoor farming can produce crop throughout the year, which multiplies productivity. Due to minimum hazard of pests, weeds, diseases, and climatic fluctuations, any crop can be grown, any time of the year in controlled condition. Moreover, as the farm is situated right in the middle of big city, cost and effort of transportation of the produce from the production site to the market will also be less.
Conservation of eco system
Vertical farming will reduce the need to vast stretch of land for growing crops. This will help to recover vast stretches of land, which would have been used by traditional farming. This will thus prevent deforestation and desertification. Thus, this type of farming helps in preserving the environment.
Immunity from weather related problems
The crops can be prevented from the problems arising due to sudden change in weather conditions. Many fragile crops like strawberries are badly affected by sudden change in temperature. Vertical farming negates ill effects of changing weather as it is done in controlled environment. Thus loss of farm produce due to global climate change, and other meteorological reasons like, hailstorms, flooding, wildfires, droughts etc. can be avoided.
Rise in production of crops
The big advantage of vertical farming is the significant increase on the yield from farms. Due to controlled conditions, ill effects of vagaries of unpredictable weather, pest and weed infestation, and diseases are minimized. This results in more produce as compared to conventional farming.
Pesticide free crop
The controlled environment protects the crops from pests and weeds infestation. So the crops can be organically produced free of any insecticide or pesticide.
Year round production
Any crop can be produced any time of the year. The farmers can grow the crops according to their demand, due to availability of artificial sunlight, water, temperature and nutrients.
Conservation of water
Water is recycled a number of times in this farming, reducing the wastage. Aeroponics, hydroponics, and aquaponics systems are used which help in conservation of water.
Although initial costs of this type of farming are high, but later on it becomes cost effective. It allows farmers to use their own resources, instead of procuring materials and products from the market.
Friendly to farmers
Indoor farming protects humans from the threats of diseases caused by mosquitoes and other pests, which might be faced during outdoor farming.