A farmer’s best friends would have to be pesticides and fertilizers. They help farmers to protect their crops from damage by pests, allowing them to reap a greater harvest without much hassle. Though it does bring about benefits, there are also new problems created with it. The conventional way of farming depends quite heavily on pesticides and fertilizers and this could sometimes result in cases of overdose. Fortunately, there has been a new invention, Indoor farming, that can solve all these worries!
The name itself is quite self-explanatory. It is a technique of growing your plants indoors, where the atmospheric environment can be controlled and closely monitored. The crucial point here is that pesticides and fertilizers are not needed. Instead, the plants will get the necessary nutrients through advanced delivery systems which are known as hydroponics or aquaponics. At this point, you might be wondering what exactly is so harmful about pesticides and fertilizers that farmers are turning away from them?
Harmful Impacts of Fertilizers and Pesticides
The key issue with fertilizers arises when some of it flows into the nearby rivers or lakes. This creates “dead zones” for marine life, where the waters become harmful and inhabitable for the fishes and plants. For pesticides, the effect on humans has yet to be well-studied. However, prolonged exposure to them can possibly bring about tremors in hands and also headaches. To put it in simpler terms, they can have negative impacts on our health and the wildlife around us. This outweighs the benefits they bring about in increasing our yield and quality of the harvest.
It is heartening is to see the fall in consumption of such substances over the years. However, consumption is still considered high. For instance, in 2007, an astonishingly high amount of 877 million pounds of pesticides were used in agriculture!
Of course, it is not to our surprise that most of our meals are made up of food doused in pesticides and that we have been eating it for years. Fortunately, indoor farming seems to be the solution where harvests will not be compromised while trying to avoid the use of these damaging additives.
What’s So Great About Indoor Farming?
Let’s take a look at indoor farming in detail! The plants are grown on top of each other in columns, without the addition of any types of fertilizers or pesticides. The growth of the plants is closely regulated, whereby conditions like light and nutrients given to the plants are being controlled. In such carefully nurtured conditions, the plants need not rely on additives.
Indoor farming is a great invention that solves most of the issues posed by the conventional way of agriculture. It creates harvests that are healthy and safe to eat while reducing the negative impacts on the earth as well.
The perks of indoor farming include being highly efficient in its space and resource usage! It uses a very minimal amount of water, around 95% less water, and even lesser land.
In addition, it is very mobile. This makes it easy to relocate and arrange the farms to your liking. In the larger scale of things, it can also be easily transported between areas and cities, significantly reducing costs.
Do you know that the average American meal goes a distance of 1500 food miles? Food miles are the distance that your food travels before being served to you, and includes the relevant carbon footprint as well. Emissions related to food are mainly due to the production process and transportation.
Hence, this stresses the need to reduce food miles. If the urban cities can adopt the use of indoor farming, the distance that food has to travel will definitely be shortened by a great deal. There would be significantly fewer emissions and up to 90% fewer food miles traveled!
Apart from the environmental benefits, we should not neglect the fact that the plants grown in such conditions will be fresher and more nutritional. This is made possible by the highly regulated and controlled growing environment.
Indoor Farming Produce Is Clean
The traditional way of agriculture is a messy business. You have got to be willing to get your hands dirty and be comfortable having insects and pests all over you. You also have to brave the rain and heat. Indoor farming, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. The indoor environment means that you are sheltered from the weather. Harvesting and growing conditions are also easily managed through technology and various water delivery systems. All are within reach of a button on your remote, simple!
The key piece of technology has got to be the LED grow lights. This essentially replaces the role of the sun, whereby the color spectrum of light can be modified according to the plant’s needs.
This will allow the plant to be rich in nutrients and aesthetically pleasing. The consistency guaranteed by such technology will also appeal to consumers.
In this era, there has been an exponential shift towards adopting a more health-conscious way of life. Consumers are nit-picky about their food, and even about the process of how their food is made. Countries are also riding on this trend. Countries that are investing their money into indoor farming technologies and emphasizing the need for clean produce are often the ones that have food and environmental quality problems.
Especially in the Asia region, where cases regarding food contamination are not uncommon, increasing demand for clean produce is observed. This contributed to the developments in the indoor farming sector as well. The effects of the change in consumers’ behavior are definitely felt as this has placed pressure on governments to direct more funds into this sector. There have been more grants and expertise to promote the research and development of indoor agriculture.
In recent decades, more light has been shed on the importance of green lifestyles and protecting the environment. Indoor farming poses as a great alternative to conventional farming methods and is efficient in its use of resources to provide safe food for all.