According to Business Insider, the average American consumes more than 3600 calories of food daily. Most of these calories can be attributed to the ease of obtaining ready fast food. While this number is slightly on the higher side compared to the global average, it is important to think about sustainable food production and most importantly the need for Americans to adopt healthier diets.
Traditional farming is no longer enough to sustain healthy American eating demands. However, newer approaches to farming that are resilient to climate change and the overall shortage of resources have been praised by researchers as the future solution for human nutrition.
Alternative farming which has been implemented in some states has already proven to be a sustainable solution to the challenge. Read on to learn more about this concept and its benefits.
The Concept of Indoor Farms
Most alternative farming methods are practiced indoors because since they require you to control most of the conditions that are necessary for growing crops. The benefit of the approach is that it makes it possible to provide the crops with the right quantity of resources.
The resources that most plants require for healthy growth include water, sunlight, air, and good soil. The savings realized in alternative farming due to the low demand for resources allow the produce to be easily maximized. Some of the challenges that are known to affect crops such as pests and seasonal changes are also easily eliminated.
The American rust belt is already being served by these new emerging farming technologies. With many traditional jobs having disappeared from the region due to regulations on the energy sector, various individuals have taken on alternative farming as the next frontier for driving innovation, feeding the region, and providing employment.
Some of the crops that have proven effective through the technique include vegetables and fruits. In states such as Kentucky, the techniques are popular with workers who previously worked in the energy industry. As a result, various communities are flocking to form new organizations to take advantage of the new farming technique.
The approach guarantees the locals a new start that no one could have predicted a few years ago when coal plants started shutting down.
Alternative farming has the potential to become a worldwide economic phenomena based on the success witnessed in Middle America. Several companies have already started practicing the approach at a scale that allows retailers to consider signing supply contracts.
A key benefit associated with the ability to produce crops in large volumes is justifying the cost of the technology. Many companies that have emerged to steer the growth of the alternative farming industry are solely focused on developing, improving, and delivering the technology necessary to facilitate the technique.
Such organizations are focused on technologies that allow farmers to save space, use fewer chemicals, and recycle water. These three factors guarantee that the farms produce about 30 times more than their traditional counterparts. As you may imagine, such technologies are expensive and may require communities to band together to successfully access them.
The cost to benefit analysis of alternative farming methods favor the approach over conventional methods. An organization, community, or individual only needs to handle the costs of acquiring the necessary technology once.
When this is done, they can rest assured that their farms will produce the necessary crops all year around. The farmers don’t need to worry about planting seeds during a particular season because they can control the micro-climate that facilitates healthy growth.
Alternative farming also brings several benefits to the table by solving problems that have traditionally plagued the food industry worldwide. Many health enthusiasts and medical professionals have their reservations on the role of genetically modifying crops to maximize output. Thankfully, farm produce based on alternative methods does not pose such concerns.
Some Kentucky farms that have introduced the technology claim that the fruits and vegetables are both non-GMO and pesticide free. With such promises, it appears that one of the greatest concerns from a health perspective has been solved.
Regarding water, the most important resource in growing crops, alternative farming relies on rain. The indoor facilities are so efficient that there is no need to trap too much rainwater for your farm. Most of the water that your setup needs will be recycled repeatedly between several harvest sessions.
If you are concerned about the consumer side of the argument, you will be pleased to learn that the crops produced through indoor farming are both nutritious and delicious. Martha Stewart, an American businesswoman and an early investor claims that the tomatoes are delicious and full of nutrients.
The new farming approach has correctly been called “container” since all the conditions that are necessary for growing the crops are contained in one unit. One key benefit of such a solution will be the ability to keep external climatic conditions outside the unit while maintaining the microclimate.
Some of the companies involved in developing alternative farming technologies claim that the technology is young but advancing rapidly. However, the existing solutions appear to be ready for prime time which is exactly what farmers and prospective companies need in order to hit the ground running.
Nonetheless, the technology is developing rapidly and will only improve over the next few years as enthusiasm toward alternative farming grows. Having studied the core concepts behind alternative farming, you need to review some of the key benefits of indoor farming.
Let’s delve in detail.
Indoor farming relies on less water than its traditional alternative. According to studies, an efficient farm that uses industrial water treatment can easily save up to 95% of the water resources needed by a conventional one.
The solution will finally allow regions that receive little or no rainfall to grow crops. Desert conditions will no longer be a hindrance to large-scale farming. On the other hand, regions which already have adequate rainfall will store more water than ever without worrying about overusing it irrigating the farms.
Using less water will be beneficial both economically and environmentally. With farming no longer being a concern, Americans will enjoy lower per unit costs of ordinary drinking water. Your water bills will be lower, which will allow you to use your money on other pressing needs.
The environmental benefits of using less water in alternative farming are even more significant. Lack of enough clean water has pushed humanity to the point of invading delicate ecosystems such as those found near mountains. As a result, rivers have dried up and oceans are rising.
With the farming water issue solved, there will be fewer reasons to exploit some natural resources. Rivers will run unimpeded by dams, and there will be no need for too many reservoirs despite the rising population.
The farm solar power systems that are being used to recycle water under this new technique will likely be used in people’s homes, businesses, and institutions. As noted earlier, enthusiasm about the technology will attract the necessary talent to ensure that small cleaning and recycling units are designed for home use.
Nutritious Crop Produce
The ability to farm crops in a controlled environment means that it is possible to grow them without subjecting the unit to excessive chemicals. Conventional farming techniques use open grounds, which means that crop diseases and pests can spread readily.
With alternative farming, it is possible for you to separate different plants accordingly. The setup comes in handy if some crops need to be isolated due to their potential to harbor pests that damage the rest of the farm.
For centuries, chemicals in the form of pesticides and herbicides have been a farmer’s only solution for controlling what grows and what doesn’t on their land. Remember, this has come at a cost since some pesticides disrupt the natural balance of minerals in soil and water. The structure of indoor farms is such that the farm fence is impervious to extern conditions from the ground, sky, and neighboring land.
With pesticides out of the picture, alternative farming eliminates a host of problems that are traditionally associated with chemicals. People living in farming communities no longer have to worry about some of the effects of excessive use of pesticides such as tumors, birth defects, cancers, and spontaneous abortions.
Indoor farming also guarantees that the fruits, vegetables, and grains cultivated using the modern approach are cleaner and more nutritious. Alternative farming means that there are no traces of chemicals in food, which is a huge health concern.
Little Space Needed
Population increase has shrunk the available space for farming. People have relied on pushing into forests and other natural habitats to increase the available farmland. Indoor farming introduces an amazing space management system that solves today’s land needs while promising future scalability.
If you are interested in farming, you no longer have to own land since most alternative farming techniques rely on vertical crop production. As technology becomes cheaper, equipment rentals will follow suit, which will mean that anyone can become a farmer if they wish. Such low barriers to entering the industry will create new jobs and improve the economy.
Alternative farming uses a different formula with respect to the common factors of economic production. Economists argue that land is the only production factor that gains value over time due to its limited nature, especially in agriculture.
The new farming approach turns this old formula on its head by proving that it is possible to grow crops vertically for a higher yield. A single farm table can accommodate several levels of vegetable beds when implemented properly.
Food security is perhaps the greatest incentive to consider alternative farming. Traditional farming options are proving to be unreliable for feeding the world. The rise of unconventional cultivation with technologies such as genetic modification is just but a single attempt to solve the problem. Indoor farming presents the best solution to the problem by ensuring that the crop volume is not only increased but of high quality.
If alternative farming succeeds, food risks will no longer be a problem. The solution will work perfectly even for people who are critical of the nature of food they consume. You will be delighted to know that your favorite Mexican restaurant serves high-quality food grown from sustainable options and under conditions that preserve the environment.
The promise of a world where food is no longer a concern has intrigued people from different industries with academia being one of them. Some of the best schools in the United States are collaborating with indoor farms to advance research into the technology. Most importantly, the institutions are realizing that it is critical to teach students about this new form of agriculture to generate interest in the field.
Using alternative farming will solve secondary problems that have traditionally been linked with agriculture. Local food consumption is expected to rise since empty warehouses will be converted into farming units. If more communities across the United States start to consider such innovations, the overall risk associated with the food supply chain will decrease.
With time, more people will rely on their local grocery markets instead of the big retail chains. As a result of this, it will no longer be necessary to over-preserve farm products using chemicals.
Indoor farming is an energy efficient form of growing crops. Depending on the specific crop that you wish to grow, there are several techniques for saving energy on your unit. Most vegetables respond positively to LED lighting.
Spisa Smaker AB, a Swedish greenhouse company, has reported that crops grown in such conditions have a higher nutrient value compared to those cultivated in traditional conditions.
The amount of energy that growing certain vegetables requires is considerably lower than that of relying on the sun. While solar energy is free, it is only available for half a day or less in most parts of the world.
What this means is that using artificial light can help accelerate the rate at which crops are grown and harvested. With most of the energy used in the artificial lights being sourced from solar cells, you only need to make a one-time investment.
Large-scale farming is an energy-intensive task which means that any savings are welcome. Lots of energy is needed from seed preparation, to farm preparation, and trucking services for transportation. Saving energy during the growth period will not only save you money as a farmer but could allow you to reinvest it in other areas of the project to further boost the quality and volume of the produce.
Indoor farming promises a new dawn of food security, healthier nutrition, and a cleaner natural environment. The new farming technique will allow Americans to enjoy healthier foods since more communities will be in a good position to grow their crops.
With Americans spending at least $1 billion annually on fast foods, better options through alternative farming will make the country healthier while saving lots of money. If you are considering starting an indoor farming practice or aligning yourself with a community that is already doing this, consider contacting us today for more information.