The worldwide population is growing every day, and with that, the demand for food is also increasing. It is expected that the world population will increase to about 9 billion by the year 2050. With this increase in population, the farmers are put under continuous pressure for producing food faster and in bigger amounts. But with mass food production, we should not forget that environmental sustainability in the agriculture sector is equally important.
Overproduction, producing commodities or substances in more quantities than what is needed, is a severe issue that we are currently facing. This not only harms the environment but also makes it harmful to future generations. The agricultural sector accounts for 30% of emissions of greenhouse gases in the world.
The agriculture sector produces emissions through the planting, reaping, and handling of harvests; transportation; and by producing livestock. Not only that, water contamination from pesticides, herbicides, and composts also plays a role in this. This is why sustainable agriculture is so important, and the reason the U.S. is trying to expand the natural resource base of the Earth while protecting the environment as well.
Farmers are realizing how important sustainable agricultural practices are and how they will promise them a better future. The outcomes of sustainable agriculture will satisfy human food needs and upgrade the quality of life for farmers.
New Types of Sustainable Farming Methods
Managing the water usage for the fields and keeping the soil healthy using the most efficient ways is what environmental sustainability in agriculture is. Food sustainability is tied in with producing food at an efficiency level that is sufficient to keep up with the human population. Sustainable food production is essentially grounded on the accessibility of fertile land, water, supplements, and a satisfactory environment.
Let’s discuss some innovative farming methods that are used today.
Innovative Agricultural Practices: Vertical Farming Systems
Vertical farming is one solution that can be implemented to help with the impact of agriculture on the increasing world population. By Vertical Farming, food yields can be cultivated effectively in urban regions by planting in vertically stacked layers to save space and utilize less energy and water for irrigating it. Below are some innovative ways for farmers to use for more sustainable farming.
1. Hydroponics – No soil is needed
Hydroponics is a strategy for growing plants in water that contains a nutrient-rich solution. This method does not use any soil. The advantage of this strategy is that it lessens soil-related cultivation issues like soil-borne pests or diseases.
2. Aeroponics – Growing plants in midair
The creation of aeroponics was devised by NASA (the National Aeronautical and Space Administration, USA) while they were trying to track down a proficient method for growing plants in space. This research was conducted in the 1990s.
In this method, there are no containers or mediums for growing plants. In aeroponics, a mist with a nutrient solution is utilized rather than water. As the plants are attached to a support and roots are splashed with the mist, it requires less space, less water, and no soil.
3. Aquaponics – Farming plants and fish together
Aquaponics is a term derived by combining two words, aquaculture, and hydroponics. Aquaculture means fish farming, and hydroponics means growing plants without soil. This method combines plants and fish in the same ecosystem to grow plants. Fish produce nutrient-rich waste, which is best for the plants and soil. The plants filter and purify the water, and thus the fishes benefit from this.
5 Advantages of Vertical Farming Systems
There are several advantages of Vertical Farming Systems which make this system promising for the agricultural sector. We will be discussing 5 of them below,
Reduced water usage
One of the main advantages of vertical farming is that it uses 50-70% less water than the traditional practices. The main reason is that the farming system is closed there are no external factors affecting the process. The water can be recycled and used over and over again.
Reliable year-round crop production
The greatest vertical farming benefit is that it’s not reliant upon the climate – meaning you can accomplish a steady all-year crop production without stressing over the effect of unfavorable weather patterns on it. Farmers can produce crops throughout the year because there is no effect of mother nature with vertical farming.
Food production is chemical-free
In vertical farming, the use of pesticides and chemicals is not necessary. The reason is that pests can not enter the closed system so they can not cause any harm to the crops. The end product becomes healthier and safer for consumption.
Safe for workers
Traditional farming has gained notoriety for being a working environment full of dangers. With no large equipment or chemicals utilized for indoor farming, it clearly doesn’t show the same dangers – altogether lessening the risk of injury. As this system requires minimum human intervention so, the risks are lessened.
Lower carbon emissions
If you’re utilizing a vertical farming system at work, you’re directly diminishing food miles. You’ll likewise enjoy a higher nutritional benefit in your food when you are harvesting your plants.
Adopting Sustainable Future Food Systems
Sustainable agricultural practices are necessary for providing economic stability to farmers. Vertical farming can also be done by people who do not have a large land for harvesting, as it can be done on a micro-level as well. These practices can further benefit the world, only if we are dedicated to the process.
These practices save costs, space, and the environment as well. They not only provide us with healthy crops but with a better environment as well.