Vertical farming has gained popularity recently and you have probably heard this phrase a few times. So, what exactly is vertical farming? What are the pros of vertical farming? Why is it believed to be the future of modern agriculture? Keep on reading to gain a deeper insight into this advanced farming method.
What is vertical farming?
Vertical farming is no longer a strange concept to many people. According to this practice, vegetables are grown and harvested on vertically stacked layers. This farming method makes use of modern techniques and technologies to control all environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, water, etc. to maximize crop production.
Vertical farms can be integrated into common structures include buildings, repurposed warehouses, or even underground unused spaces and can also be purpose-built facilities, for example, shipping containers, tunnels, or even abandoned mine shafts.
What are the pros of vertical farming?
Save natural recourses such as arable area and water
The most obvious pro of vertical farming is the ability to increase yield per area and reduce water usage. A study has shown that, compared to conventional farming, hydroponics, which is the predominant growing practice in vertical farming could increase the yield per area of lettuce by around 11 times while requiring 13 times less water.
Allow year-round crop production
This modern farming method also allows crops to be grown and harvested all year round because vertical farms can control all of the technology used to grow the produce. If a plant needs a certain amount of humidity and light, a vertical farm can provide what is required.
Additionally, crops are not affected by unfavorable weather conditions. Traditional farming can be adversely affected by unfavorable weather such as torrential rains, storms, severe droughts, or flooding – events that are becoming increasingly common as a result of climate change.
Produce cleaner and fresher food
Vertical farming also provides cleaner and fresher produce. This is partly because this farming method allowed vegetables to be harvested at a local farm only hours before they are going to be displayed in a grocery store.
Besides, growing indoors reduces the risk of infection from insects. It means reducing a great amount of pesticide, fertilizer, and other harmful chemicals used during the process.
Reduce dangers of traditional farming
Another advantage of vertical farming is that it can greatly lessen the occupational dangers associated with traditional farming. Farmers are not exposed to hazards related to heavy farming equipment, diseases like malaria or poisonous chemicals and, so on.
This farming method not only saves 95% of irrigation water but also forms a closed process. Waste, gas, water, and food can be reused and purified by plants and animals into clean air and water.
What is more, it reduces a great amount of gas released into the air and fossil fuels used for farm machines and the transportation of crops. This is because generally, fresh produce grown in vertical farms travels just a few miles to reach grocery store shelves compared to the traditional farming method, which can travel a long distance by truck or plane.
Create more green spaces in cities
By optimizing the production process and applying science and technology, the tall buildings not only provide clean and fresh food for city dwellers but also create a green living space in the heart of the city. Furthermore, citizens have more opportunities to relieve their stress and pressure when they have access to natural spaces, even in their own family’s apartment.
Thereby, we can see that vertical farming provides a variety of advantages. Governments and countries that want to have sustainable development should not ignore this form of farming. Hopefully, in the future, this method of farming will be applied more widely and make great strides for world agriculture.