The term “Vertical Farming” has not been around very long. It refers to a method of growing crops, usually without soil or natural light, in beds stacked vertically inside a controlled environment building.
Faced with climatic uncertainties, dwingly resources and pressure on land, more and more fresh produce farmers worldwide have turned to undercover farming. Its advantages:-
- increased yield;
- a controlled environment;
- efficient water: and
- fertilizer use.
More recently, undercover farming techniques have expanded to include so called “vertical farming” which requires an even smaller footprint and uses water and fertilizer even more efficiently.
According to “Dr Dickson Despommer” who is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on vertical farming, our children and grandchildren’s generations could soon facing a worldwide food crises if changes are not made to the current manner in which we farm and grow our food.
Despommer believes that current technology and the relatively new methods of greenhouse food production as well as vertical gardening made famous by the green wall pioneer “Patric Blanc”, could and should be fused in an up-scaled design, where food can be grown year – round, despite the season, and inecologically sound manner.
Vertical Farming (VF) Benefits.
- year round crop production;
- no wheather – related crop failures due to droughts, floods or pests;
- Food is grown organically:no herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers;
- VF creates new employment opportunities;
- VF creates sustainable environments for urban centres;
- VF dramatically reduces fossel fuel use (no tractors, ploughs);
- VF converts abandoned urban properties into food production centres;
- VF greatly reduces the incidence of many infectious diseases.
Vertical Farming – Where to from here:?
The immediate opportunity may simply be to take advantage of the space available on rooftops, says Mr Head, who carried out several studies of the idea. Rooftop gardening is already a common sight in cities and towns around the world, especially in Europe. South Africa has yet to catch on in a big way, as currently the costs of converting roofs into strong enough structures to support the large weight of the needed soil, outweighs the savings of the food costs.
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