We are all aware that now the population clock of the world has reached up to 8 billion people. And the question arising is, does each person in this population have 3 meals a day? Of course not, the demand for food has been increasing, but there aren’t many farming lands to full fill this demand, so vertical farming is being introduced.
Vertical farming is now in trend but what is it? And why are people shifting away from traditional farming?
As the population increases year by year, the demand for land to build residences is also increasing.
And the builders and major construction companies take over lands that are majorly for farming.
With a better standard of living, which was the impact of the industrial revolution, lifestyle has been enhanced.
Which resulted in a decrease in the mortality rate.
And this pressurizes farmers to grow more crops and produce more food on the farm.
Moreover, only 38% of the land is available for farmers all around the world to farm, which is five thousand million hectares.
So now you may think that this much land is more than enough.
But for farmers to grow food for over eight thousand million people, this availability of land is not enough.
The food produced by farming on the available land is not sufficient for the whole population.
And with that, climate change and sudden disturbances in the environment destroy and disturb the whole farming and production process.
So, to solve all these issues and clear out the scarcity of food aero farming has been set up in many countries.
Aero farming is basically vertical farming. Where crops are being grown in vertical towers.
Vertical racks are used for farming different types of crops and plants, due to which less land is used.
1. How Vertical Farming Came into Existence
Vertical farming is a very interesting concept, and it would leave you in amazement if you ever visited these farms.
Crops planted in various towers and their leaves of different colours hang down as if they are peaking at who has come to visit them.
But before visiting any Aero farms, do you know how this thing came to be?
The concept of vertical farming was somewhere influenced by “The Hanging Gardens of Babylon”.
It was typically vertical farming in a different form.
It was built around 605 BC, the flora was grown 19 to 20 meters above the surface. And through a chain pump, the water made its way to reach the plants.
And until 1999 this vertical farming took many different forms and was done for different purposes.
But during the year 1999, an instructor at Columbia University and his students came up with the idea of modern vertical farming.
The purpose was to not let the population of New York starve to death.
Vertical farming was done only on the rooftops of urban areas, but later those students came up with the model.
That model consisted of an entire building being used for agriculture. They proposed the idea that the crops should be planted on each floor, and likewise, it became a crop tower.
After which the vertical farming concept made its way.
In 2009, “Sky Green Farms” the biggest vertical farm project in Singapore, it had more than eighty towers, and each of them was 9 to 10 meters tall.
The plants are grown with the help of a rainwater collection system and natural sunlight.
And as of now, almost 1.8 thousand million dollars have been invested in vertical farming in different areas like New York, Bengaluru (Bangalore), Japan, Dubai, etc.
Governments and startup companies are working together.
2. To What Extent Is Vertical Farming Different from Traditional Farming?
Traditional farming is simply food production, i.e., growing crops in a widespread horizontal field, which is also known as horizontal farming.
And as we now know what vertical farming is, so now you may wonder if the difference between horizontal and vertical farming is the way and the direction is just used to produce food.
But sorry, that’s not what it is. The whole farming process differs and only has a few similarities.
The major difference is, yes of course the use of space and location. As it is known that horizontal farming is done outdoors.
But when it comes to vertical farming, the food production process is done completely indoors.
In traditional farming, only the farmer supervised the whole piece of land, and somewhere it is next to impossible to look after every plant in detail.
But when it comes to vertical farming, the business sector and industrial sector manage this whole food production process.
Each process of production is supervised in detail by many workers.
When it comes to watering the crops, compared to horizontal farming, the vertical farming method requires almost 70 per cent less water than it.
It uses rain-harvested water, and the whole farming structure is designed in such a way that the remaining water can be reused.
And now the question arises about sunlight, right?
So how do these crops grow without getting any sunlight?
Thanks to a technological device called LED lights, this light works as artificial sunlight and doesn’t worry about electricity consumption.
As everyone knows, LED lights use less energy than normal lights.
And some vertical farming companies are using solar energy to run these LED lights.
Compared to traditional methods, these vertical methods do cut-offs with lots of costs and hard work.
3. Pros of Using Vertical Farming Structure
Horizontal, or traditional farming is restricted to open fields and large areas of agricultural land.
Whereas when we use the vertical farming method, there are no restrictions on where the crops need to be planted.
Farming can be done using vertical methods in urban areas.
And because of vertical farming done in cities, food transportation is much easier.
Pesticides are sprinkled on the crops in a horizontal farming concept to keep insects away from the crops.
And sometimes, while protecting the crops unknowing they are damaging their growth process. Because as we know pesticides are not good for all crops.
Few farmers use chemicals to grow their crops and other food items fast, which is not so good for our health.
On the other side, vertical farming considers using technology to grow crops in their natural growth cycle.
As the crops are planted indoors and due to LED lights, there’s no threat of insects or other wild animals destroying the crops.
And to grow the crops properly, instead of using chemicals inside the crops, the outer environment is made suitable for them to grow faster.
An artificial climate or season is created.
Every year, crops are destroyed and affected due to environmental disturbances in traditional farming.
And this will be the major advantage of vertical farming. By saying no to seasonal farming, it is safe to plant each crop indoors throughout the year.
Vertical farming is the idea of growing more food by using fewer acres.
It might be challenging to find places to do vertical farming in urban areas.
But with the concept of reuse, they are using shipping containers, old factories, warehouses, and offices.
Now, even in the winter, you can enjoy Blackberries and Lychee.
Irrespective of the season, you are ready to enjoy your fave food throughout the year.
Many of you might think that the concept of vertical farming came into existence to take over traditional farming.
Obviously, not, traditional farming alone is not enough to feed the whole population.
And due to this vertical farming was introduced so that both could work together to reach the goal of seeing that no one should starve to death.
Now, you may think vertical farming would be a lot of work and it will be expensive.
It is like a one-time investment; some companies are using robots to do all the work.
From soil preparation to sowing to plough dropping, planting, transplanting, and harvesting, each process is done by robots with minute details and care.
Vertical farmers have a storage room that is even managed by robots.
Special grow rooms are made for special seasonal crops, to grow them in a natural way.
The work of vertical farming doesn’t end here, beyond planting, there are other tasks that are handled by these farms.
The work includes quality checks, distribution, and packaging.
Many vertical farming companies are now joining hands with wholesalers and retailers to directly sell the food which is produced by them.
People get the benefit of having high-quality food that has been produced without the usage of chemicals, by opting for this way of farming.
Moreover, it might be costly, but it does reduce the expenses of soil, water, and other things that are related to being used in horizontal farming.
While the space is well optimized, the labour and transportation expenses are also decreased.
Some nations may face economic challenges while adopting this method, but once vertical farming practices are adopted, no country will face a food shortage.
When it comes to our country’s vertical farming technology, currently turmeric farming is done by using this technique in the poly-house.