News about renewable energy and electric vehicles
How to

Indoor Farming Can Address Food Shortages?

Greenhouses for intensive food production

The U.N. has estimated that by the year 2050, the world population can reach 10 billion people, and because the natural resources like farmland and water are scarce, feeding such a large number of people can become an even greater challenge.

What is Indoor Farming?

Using greenhouses for indoor farming allows vertical farms to grow all kinds of crops in any place and any time, because the environment inside the greenhouse is controlled, so producing food is no longer depending on favorable weather and climate conditions.

A growing number of greenhouses are spread across the landscape in many countries on the planet, and are used by modern farmers to produce food in a sustainable way for a world population that continues to grow.

Indoor Farming Using Greenhouses

Tomatoes grown today indoor using greenhouses produce annually more than double the yield of an outdoor farm.

Tomato production using a controlled environment starts with a 1 foot tall plant that grows vertically reaching a height of 16 to 20 feet (5 to 6 meters), and by using the greenhouse they can control the climate and water for the crops.

Filtration systems allow the farmers to collect and recycle the plant’s water supply.

Crops receive direct sunlight, supplemented when needed by artificial light, and they are fully protected from unpredictable weather events and insects, which almost completely eliminates the use of pesticides.

In countries like the Nederlands, where indoor farming is well developed, greenhouses are covering less than 1% of the farmland, but they produce 35% of the country’s vegetables.

Greenhouse Farming Today

To produce food in a sustainable way for a population that continues to grow year after year, we no longer need to use large areas of farmland like the outdoor farms.

We need to use the natural resources of the planet in a sustainable way by using vertical farms and controlling the yield and the quality of the crops produced to ensure the population that the foods created in greenhouses are healthy and tasty, exactly like the crops produced in outdoor farms.

The availability of the sunlight depends on weather conditions, so the next step for indoor vertical farming using greenhouses installed indoors, aims to no longer rely on sunlight and use controlled light for growing plants stacked in shelves to maximize space.

Being completely cut off from the outside, these greenhouses designed for vertical farming use artificial light and water that is drained, collected and reused to make the facility self sustainable (does not rely on sunlight or an outdoor source of water).

Indoor Verical Farms

An indoor vertical farm can reach a yield that is 350 times higher than the yield obtained by an outdoor farm of the same size.

In the United States, mushroom growers use indoor farming techniques for a pretty long time, and today they produce half the U.S. mushroom crop.

Consumers want fresh mushrooms all year long, and to meet the demand, local producers use indoor vertical farming that can produce mushrooms every week.

In terms of investment, creating an outdoor farm can be affordable mostly because mother nature provides the rain and the Sun, while growing mushrooms indoors can be very capital intensive, you have to use a building or a large greenhouse, you have the infrastructure that needs to be created, you have energy costs, etc.

However, due to the fact that a greenhouse maximizes the productivity, and have consistent quality all year around, then yes, you because only using indoor farming you can have a way larger production of food that can meet the needs for food of a growing population.

Urban Indoor Farming

The future of indoor agriculture is in small scale urban production in areas with no farming industry of their own.

Using the controlled environment provided by a home greenhouse you can grow leafy greens like spinach and kale, tomatoes, mushrooms, strawberries and many other fruits and veggies using a small area of land where you install the greenhouse.

Instead of sunlight you can use LED lights and water recycling in a climate controlled by the greenhouse.

No genetically modified seeds or pesticides are used in the production because the environment inside the greenhouse is modified and carefully crafted around each type of plant to give them the ideal conditions for growing.

Advantages Of Greenhouse Farming

1. Indoor farming does not need to use pesticides

The big advantage of growing veggies and fruits in a controlled environment provided by a greenhouse, is represented by the lack of insects and the certain conditions created specifically for each plant for proper growth.

2. Greenhouse farming consumes less water

Greenhouse farming uses a significantly reduced volume of water (up to 80% less water used by indoor farming compared to outdoor farming) to produce veggies or fruits.

3. Veggies and fruits produced in a greenhouse have the same taste

Many people consider that food grown in greenhouses has no taste because they are grown somehow artificially.

This is not true because the controlled environment inside the greenhouse can produce vegetables and fruits with the same taste like outdoor farming by simply creating a specific environment for each plant (plants grown indoors benefit from the perfect light recipe, perfect nutrient recipe, perfect water recipe, etc.).

4. Indoor farming techniques can be replicated even in arid climates

Due to the fact the greenhouses used to create the indoor farms are capable to cut off the outside conditions from the inside environment used to grow veggies and fruits, we can install these practical and self-sustainable farms in many areas of the planet, even in arid climates like the Middle East or Sub-Saharan Africa.

5. Only indoor farming can meet the food demand of a growing population

Land and water resources are limited on our planet, and this is the reason why we need to use greenhouses for vertical farming to maximize the food production for the growing population of the planet.

Disadvantages Of Greenhouse Farming

The only disadvantage of indoor farming is mostly related to the costs.

1. High initial investment

The initial investment for indoor farming can be high, but not with the greenhouse itself, instead with the infrastructure required to grow plants stacked on shelves, the irrigation system, the climate control system and the light sources used in the greenhouse.

2. The energy costs with the climate control system and indoor lighting

The production of veggies or fruits of the indoor farm needs to cover all energy consumed in the greenhouse and the costs with the employees to become profitable.

Final conclusion

Indoor farming can be done in urban areas by anyone who has a free room or a small patch of land to install a greenhouse.

If you plan to only reduce the expenses with the food every month, you can use the greenhouse to grow veggies and even fruits in a controlled environment.

Growing food for your household consumption, will keep you in a pretty good shape because you will work inside the greenhouse almost every day to be sure that you have a constant production of food.

Once you install the greenhouse and all the systems used to grow food, you only need to ensure proper growth conditions for the plants to have a constant production of food.

The money spent on veggies and fruits over the year exceeds the investment in the greenhouse and all the systems used inside it to grow plants.

Not to mention that by using the greenhouse for your own production of food, the veggies and fruits produced will be healthier being free of any dangerous chemicals (pesticides).

Article written by:

I am a writer and reporter for the clean energy sector, I cover climate change issues, new clean technologies, sustainability and green cars. Danny Ovy

Leave a Reply

© 2012 - 2024 -