All About Urban Farming
Over the years, we have seen an increasing focus on climate change and global warming. This has led to a shift in the mindsets of consumers, where more people are becoming more environmentally conscious. Urban farming, which is the growing of plants and food in urban cities, is one of the key trends. This is seen throughout the globe and countries are adopting this new method of farming as well. It is branded as the next big thing in farming. But what exactly is so attractive about urban farming that differentiates it from traditional farming?
1. Greater Yield
With this new technology, farmers can now enjoy a significantly greater harvest as compared to traditional agriculture methods, up to 100 times more per square foot! Sounds too good to be true, isn’t it? Here’s how it is made possible.
The new farms are set up in a vertical fashion, which allows farmers to maximize the number of plants that can be grown per square foot. So for instance, the traditional way of growing on the ground would only allow you to grow a certain number of seeds in one layer. Now, even with the same amount of land, you can have multiple layers of shelves of seedlings. They can even bring aesthetic value to your walls!
Also, the concern about yields being subjected to weather events? This has become a minute and even negligible factor in urban farming. As urban farming takes place indoors, it would not be affected by the weather in any way. Instead, the growing environment for the plants is being well-regulated by the systems installed, which includes conditions of light, nutrients, and water.
2. It is Sustainable
In addition, a majority of such systems have allowed farmers to enjoy huge savings in water consumption, electricity bills, and space used. Some systems can cut water consumption by up to 90% and requires only a quarter of the original area needed as opposed to the conventional farming method. Though it comes at a price, it is said that returns can be reaped within a short period of time.
Still not convinced? Not only are these resources (water, electricity and space savings) cost-efficient, it also has environmental benefits. As you make the switch to growing your own food to put on the table, instead of depending on the regular farms, you will be slowing down the development of various geographical issues like drought, and soil erosion. These issues would have a spillover effect on the consumers since they would be bearing the brunt of the effects by paying a higher price for their food.
3. Easy Access to Organic Produce
Urban farming essentially means growing food indoors. Farmers will now have to grow their crops indoors, where the environment is easily controlled. This makes it possible and hassle-free for them to grow organic produce without having to make special arrangements, as they had to when growing crops the traditional way. How so?
The main factor that makes a crop not organic, is when chemicals such as pesticides are used on the crops. Farmers have to resort to such measures to meet their harvest targets at times when the environmental factors are not working in their favor. As mentioned earlier, external factors like weather events and the natural environment do not affect urban farming much. Hence, this reduces the need for farmers to adopt the use of chemicals to encourage the growth of their crops. What they need, is fertile soil, adequate light, and an established good water system.
4. Works Well in Small Spaces
Especially in densely populated countries such as Hong Kong or New York, there really isn’t much space in your apartments, what more to grow food. Yes, you can still fit a small potted plant to liven up your room, but that is not able to feed you. To be able to grow food enough for a week, this would mean you need some space and pots all over your house! Be it your balcony or under your bathroom sink, it probably has to be in every corner of your house. Growing food at home in these places seems out of the question.
Urban farming does make things work, fortunately. They have very compact structures, with multiple layers from top to bottom. You would be able to grow a wide variety of plants at every level. Furthermore, it acts as a statement piece in your home and is also not fussy about having enough natural light. Very flexible!
5. You can get fresh food anytime!
For those who have experience with conventional farming, you would know that each crop has its season. Some can only be grown in certain seasons and in certain regions. It is very difficult to be able to harvest a certain crop out of its season.
However, in urban farming, the external factors and seasons will no longer play a part. The environmental factors are now controllable. You will be able to grow crops at your own will and it is entirely possible to do so. You will not have to worry about the growth of your plants, and whether your climate is suitable for it. Now, if you want it, you can get it. Once the crop has been harvested, you will just have to replace the soil with a new batch and plant your new seeds. It’s hassle-free!
6. It is very easy
If the message wasn’t clear enough, urban farming is no rocket science. Anyone can do it. In traditional farming, it takes a green finger, patience, and care in order to nurture a great harvest. However, all these can be solved with the use of technology in urban farming. If you have an urban farm set up at home, you can easily grow your own food and be self-sustainable. You will not have to get soil all over yourself and suffer from backaches.
In this technologically advanced era we are living in, farming is made possible with a push of a button. You just need to plant the seeds, press some buttons, and you’re off to waiting for a great harvest!