An alternative method of producing crops called âhydroponicsâ was discovered in the 19th century. The word hydroponics is derived from two Greek words, âhydroâ meaning water and âponicsâ meaning work. In this technique, the plants are grown in nutrient solutions that are usually made of water rich in all the elements required by the plants for a healthy growth, with or without using an artificial medium like sand, gravel, perlite, peatmoss, or sawdust for giving mechanical support. This technology is gaining popularity and is now being commonly adapted by commercial growers and home gardeners.
1. NYâs first hydroponic rooftop farm will supply 30 tons of green veggies annually
Gotham Greens, a start-up of New York City, has built a hydroponic farm on the rooftop of a church in Jamaica, Queens. The 12,000-square-foot hydroponic rooftop farm is the first of its kind in NYC. The farm tends to produce 30 tons of green vegetables and fruits every year by making use of nutrient solvents in water rather soil (hydroponic system). The farm is powered by green electricity that is produced by 2,000 square feet of solar panels placed on the adjacent roof and gets water from a giant water tank where rainwater is collected. As the yield from the farm would be conveyed in a biodiesel van, greenhouse gas emissions will also be lowered and more competitive prices will be offered.
2. Vertical farms a step towards new age of Green Living
Designers at VEIL (Victorian Eco Innovation Lab) have pondered deeply over the problems with shortage of land availability for farming and have come up with idea of growing crops hydroponically on a vertical farm within frame structures. They have designed a two-floor building, which is comprised of large floor plates and has least floor to wall structures due to which the interiors receive the most of natural sunlight and air. With this kind of structure of the building the temperature controllers and contrived lightening systems usage will be eliminated and enough energy will also be saved. A research center, cafeteria and a bio-recycling area will also be included in the structure.
3. Abu Dhabi to harvest water from dense air for agriculture
Abu Dhabi, located in the UAE, is known for the inadequate supply of water and lack of energy. For the agriculture people, this shortage poses a huge problem. Now, they have found out a solution for this issue. They have come up with a technology known as G-earth that will draw out water from the excess humid air of Abu Dhabi. The scorching heat and the overabundant saturated air will no longer be a problem but advantageous to the farmers as they would not have to depend on expensive energy and water. The Farmers’ Services Centre (FSC) has teamed up with a Swiss consultancy group called Anexo Emirates and are now preparing the farmers of Abu Dhabi to utilize the hydroponic techniques and grow crops in water than in soil. This new technology will let the farmers free from water and energy shortage.
4. Farming in future could be âUrban Farm, Urban Epicenterâ style
Around 60% of human population is now residing in urban and vertical buildings of cities. This brings us to the conclusion that humans remain protected from the asperities of the environment. But, what about our plants? Millions of tons of our valuable food crops are destroyed facing the severities like massive floods, severe monsoons, droughts etc. To save these plants farmers are adopting urban and sustainable methods of harvesting the food crops. Keeping all this in mind Jung Min Nam proposed the âUrban Farm, Urban Epicenterâ to be constructed in New York City, which nominates a new urban infrastructure connected with the production of food crops and water recycling systems. The Urban Farm, Urban Epicenter utilizes the hydroponic techniques of farming in the urban areas itself and thus eliminating the need of carrying them from farms to the urban regions.
5. Japanese bio-expert showcases novel soil-less cultivation technology
According to the new invention for futuristic agricultural system called Imec, crops can be grown in any kind of environment, even in space. Medical bio expert Dr Yuichi Mori of Japan has been innovatively created this brainchild, which was displayed at the TedxTokyo event. The sheet of cling-film called the hydromembrane, over which the seed was planted, consisted of a culture medium that contained all important food nutrition and water, required for a plant to be grown. The hydromembrane provide the essential minerals for a crop to develop with only one-fifth of water that is used in traditional soil based methods of farming. The resultant crop grown by the Imec technique is more nutrition.
Hydroponic farming is very attractive and an oversimplified technology of agriculture. It has numerous advantages. As the space being one of the major concerns of today, you can grow crops anywhere with hydroponics techniques as the requirement of soil is removed and quite a less amount of water is needed. The pace of plant growth is much more than traditional methods and the plants can be harvested in less time. Soil-borne disease is largely reduced with this soilless farming system and you get healthy and nutritious produce of crops.
As no system is perfect, the hydroponic farming system also faces certain limitations. The initial cost of setting up a farm based on this system is quite high. You will require intricate skills for managing this system to exert optimum crop production. The plants grown in hydroponic systems are very delicate and sensitive and will show adverse effects in case of deficiencies.
Though hydroponics is considered to be a miraculous method in the agriculture technologies, the truth is that the crops grown in soil yield a better quality and a good amount of crops. It is also not specific if tastier and better fruits will be produced. This method will work out better in remote areas where the soil is poor and agriculture is not so possible. But, of course, as the agricultural land is depreciating and with increased negative effects on the environment, hydroponic farming can be counted as a better farming method in the near future.