As the world population increases, there becomes an ever-greater demand for food security. Growing crops by tradition means can be detrimental to the environment and food quality and may out strip the resources available. As farmers struggle with bridging the gap between demand and supply using traditional farming methods, more innovative and efficient cultivation techniques continue to be developed. One of these methods of cultivation is vertical farming.
What is Vertical Farming?
Vertical farming is a method of cultivating crops in vertically stacked shelves, instead of on a single surface, like a field or greenhouse. Generally, cultivators incorporate these into vertical structures.
This farming method uses Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) technology to monitor required humidity, temperature, gases, and light in indoor conditions. Farmers use artificial lighting and metal reflectors to mimic natural sunlight to enhance growth.
A major advantage in vertical farming is the greatly increased crop yield that is achieved from the use of small areas of land. In some instances, existing buildings/structures can be adapted these include farm buildings, shipping containers, tunnels, and unused underground areas.
Vertical farming also offers a growing environment that is not affected by the weather, which in traditional farming methods can cause devasting losses. It also has a benefit to conservation of the environment by reducing the need for the use of artificial fertilisers and insecticides. There is no run-off from the land of harmful substances into streams and rivers that are being contaminated by the over-use of these chemicals. The growing of the plants is contained and removes all contact with native fauna and flora.
How does it work?
All plants require an adequate supply of clean water to flourish. In vertical farming the nutrients needed for plant growth including Biocat+ OSAA are usually delivered in the water supply system whether in pipelines or by spraying. A major benefit of Biocat+ OSAA when delivered in the water supply is that it prevents the build-up of algae and keeps the system clear without the use of harmful chemicals.
Biocat+ OSAA keeps the pipelines clean
Vertical Farming can include the following growing methods:
Hydroponics refers to the technique of growing plants without the use of soil. Roots are submerged in a liquid solution containing all the necessary nutrients and trace elements. Sometime inert mediums are used, such as gravel, sand or sawdust to help support the root systems. The advantage of hydroponics is the ability to increase yield and reduce water usage in any given area.
Aquaponics a combination of aquaculture, which refers to fish farming, and hydroponics, a method of growing without the use of soil. Simple put the fish produce waste which nutrifying bacteria convert to nutrients for the plants. Plant roots absorb these nutrients and in return the plant roots clean and filter the water for the fish to live in.
Aeroponic growing does not require any liquid or solid medium. Plants are suspended and a liquid solution with nutrient is misted in enclosed areas.