It is projected that by 2050, global food demand will increase between around 60% to 100 per cent. This significant increase means that we’ll need to improve at increasing crop production worldwide. We are already seeing some attempts at creating rural areas more effective in crop production. But even laboratories are now trying to solve a number of these problems through lab-grown meat and other techniques. Another guarantee, which has been regularly evoked recently, is vertical farming. But what precisely is it?
VERTICAL FARMING – THE RESOLUTION TO GROWING FOOD NEEDS?
To put it differently, vertical agriculture is the production of food from vertically stacked layers or inclined surfaces through synthetic means. Instead of relying on dirt and organic lighting to grow, artificial light and environmental controllers are utilized. In addition to that, software tools help all plants get the ideal amount of water, light, and nutrition.
Although it can occasionally use pure light, generally LEDs are used, as they reliably replicate sunlight.
The Pros of Vertical Farming
Vertical farming has several benefits.
To begin with, vertical farming is done inside a controlled atmosphere. This usually means it is basically weatherproof. It’s not necessary to fret about exactly what a given year’s time will probably look like, what natural disasters will hit, or whatever else.
On top of that, since they use artificial lighting and environmental controls, crop production may occur all year round. It is irrelevant whether it is day or night, winter or summer. Vertical farming ensures that crops get the sum of light, water, and nutrients that they require at all times.
It also helps us conserve water. Sometimes, as methods such as misting the roots of these plants may be used, water consumption has been reduced by as much as 95 per cent when compared to traditional techniques. According to another source, at least a 70% decrease in comparison to ordinary farms has been detected for many data points.
As these are a few of the principal advantages, there are others too. For instance, on account of the controlled environments, the crops are grown inside, you will have a higher output efficiency and less spoilage. And, as they are sometimes stacked up vertically, you also have a lot more crops per square meter. Finally, since they are protected, in most instances we can eliminate insecticides and pesticides.
However, obviously, not all about it is good.
The Cons of Vertical Farming
The largest disadvantages of vertical farming, at least at the moment, will be the lack of energy efficiency along with the high price it incurs.
Andrew Jenkins provides us with an example. Writing for the Independent, he notes lettuces traditionally heated in greenhouses in the UK need about 250kWh of electricity annually per square meter. In the event of vertical farming, but the energy consumption for the same period and distance is all about 3,500kWh. The huge majority of the energy invest comes in the use of artificial lighting (LEDs) and ecological controllers.
Also, not everything can grow on farms that are vertical. When it could be sensible to imagine some leafy greens or other vegetables have been grown inside, the same would not do the job for wheat, rice, potatoes, along with other plants that are heavy.
Last but not least, it is expensive. Really costly. Mostly, because of the minimal energy efficiency. The expense of establishing a vertical farm and operating it, and alluring skilled experts to attend it, while making use of expensive gear and software, means that there could be a massive premium on whatever coming out of them.
Obviously, although the concept is not new, we are currently just in the first stages of analyzing it. But at the present time, it will seem highly improbable that perpendicular farming is going to be the remedy to our growing food requirement. At least as long as its own prices far outweigh its advantages.
The high investment costs it takes to presents us with the following challenge. Since Michael Holder put it GreenBiz, “Some potential benefits of vertical farming are difficult to argue with, but in fighting so tough to make it commercially possible individuals may fail to think about its negative effects, both on our society, and also miss the far lower hanging fruit in developing greater climate-friendly and resilient outdoor farming methods.”