Farming is a venture that largely relies on natural resources and the climate. The increasing climate changes have resulted in global warming and unpredictable weather patterns, which threaten farmers’ efforts with frequent drought, floods, and frost. As the global population increases, the demand for food also rises which means that farmers have to produce more.
Despite the increasing demand, food security is still threatened by the hiking prices of fossil fuel, environmental degradation, water deficiency, unpredictable weather conditions, and lack of enough arable land. For this reason, there is a need to find a future solution, and farmers have to become more innovative. In the modern world, scientists have invented better methods to produce more food in the same land hence minimizing deforestation. Farming is no longer restricted to the field and it’s being done even in developed environments and urban centers.
Farming Towards urbanization
The relationship between the city and the farm has never close. However, vacant office buildings, warehouses, factories, and are facilities are being transformed into urban farms. Farming in cities and urban centers and controlled environments are shaping the future of food production. There is a large difference between open space farming and controlled environment farming although they are both urban farming. For instance,
- Open space farming includes rooftop gardens, community gardens, and gardens within the city.
- Controlled environment farming involves practicing agriculture in an environment where conditions such as humidity, temperature, light, and nutrient cycle are controlled using green infrastructure and combined with urban architecture.
Importance of Innovations
Farming in controlled environments is an important way that helps farmers achieve maximum productivity and produce high-quality crops in an environmentally friendly and efficient manner. These innovations are not affected by the unpredictable weather patterns and extreme climatic conditions which allow urban farmers to produce crops throughout the year.
This practice has transformed the growing environment and uses fewer inputs such as pesticides, water, and fertilizers. Besides, it minimizes deforestation and emissions associated with food transport. This helps in mitigating the adverse effects of climate change. Rooftop farms create a new dimension to urban environments by greening them and creates serene zones and connects people with nature.
Unfortunately, the costs of production in controlled are relatively higher than in conventional outdoor areas. However, embracing new technologies such as automated systems, energy-efficient LED lighting, and solar energy can help reduce production costs. The use of farm management systems and innovative farm practices can help farmers keep up with their budget and increase productivity and profitability.
In fruit farming, some of the crops that farmers can grow in controlled environments include watermelon, passion fruits, and strawberry. Although grapes can also be produced in such environments, not all required conditions can be provided.
For instance, they require more direct and concentrated sunlight to enhance their flavor and color profiles. At night, cool temperatures are required to enable them to preserve their acidity. Other crops that can be grown in urban and controlled environments include vegetables, legumes, carrots, and other horticultural products.