Is Vertical Gardening Sustainable?
By T.R. Hydro
Imagine the year 2050. The projected population is expected to exceed 9 billion and two thirds of that massive number are expected to live in Urban Areas. How will the planet sustain the needs of such a large population? Many people believe that Vertical Gardening and hydroponics growing methods are the solutions to feeding our people and preserving our planet.
Vertical Gardening is the practice of growing food and medication in stacked layers. The most common structures are shipping containers, skyscrapers and warehouses. By growing in these controlled environments, hydroponic and aeroponic technology can maintain a control that optimizes yields. Software can regulate light, water and nutrients. It is reported that LED lights have demonstrated a 68% efficiency and hold the potential to reduce energy costs. By controlling these factors, we can reduce the need for harmful chemicals such as pesticides. Water usage and runoff would decrease and emissions reduced. The food would even be more nutritious.
If this is our future, food can be grown and travel only a few miles to arrive at a grocery store as opposed to thousands of miles our food often travels today.
By growing food in these controlled environments, not only could we feed more people, the planet would have a chance to heal and rest from all the of harmful farming techniques that have been used over the years. Many believe that this rest could reverse climate change and change the trajectory of destruction that we are currently moving towards.
While this concept is not new, it is becoming more and more clear that we need to solve the problems of food shortages and population growth. The National Institute for Food and Agriculture currently has funding opportunities that could support this Research. We have worked with Ft. Valley State University, a leader in agricultural research, and their Agricultural department to explore just how hydroponic gardening can alter our methods of growing food and medicine effectively. Additionally, the Agricultural and Research Service is working on a project geared toward increasing tomato yields in the United States grown in greenhouses and other protected environments.
Right here in Atlanta we have been home to gardening pioneers that have created vertical gardens. Podponics grew hydroponic lettuce in stacked shipping containers with LED lights, supplying Kroger and many other outlets. Recently, Ponix Farms has found a home for twelve months on the Atlanta Beltline. This innovative group focuses on the future of farming and economic development in our community. We were able to visit this new location and view the lettuce and basil in a controlled indoor environment. Check out this cool new local business and all they have to offer on ponixfarms.com.
So you ask us at Taproot Hydroponics, “Is Vertical Gardening Sustainable”? YES! We believe this is our future. We would love to discuss this topic more with anybody involved with or exploring vertical farming techniques. Please send us an email or come by the store. We love partnering up with others that value sustainability, hydroponics, food and medicine of the future.