Change Your Life
Frequenly Asked Questions
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Simply put, indoor farming is climate-controlled crop growing. Although inside a building might not sound like the best place for food crops, it allows farmers to have much better control over temperature, light, humidity, water and nutrients. The result, in theory, is higher crop yields.
There are numerous reasons why we might choose to farm indoors. First, we can better control the crops’ growing conditions, improving yields. Second, we can set up farms in urban environments, decreasing the field-to-table journey. Third, it addresses potential food insecurity by making use of developed land.
Indoor farming is theoretically possible regardless of where you live. It can be as simple as putting a grow box on a fish tank, or it can be a more complex aeroponic setup. The bottom line is that if you have spare space in your home, you could set up an indoor farm.
Indoor farming can address food insecurity in a few ways. It makes use of developed land rather than finding space for new fields. Also, it doesn’t drain the land of nutrients like traditional farming, which leads to the use of damaging fertilizers. It also allows us to use technology (AI, machine learning, automation) to improve yields compared to field farming.
Although the figures differ based on crops, a 340-square-foot vertical farm can produce the same annual yields as a 3-acre farm. Using 3 dimensions rather than 2 (along with not using soil), helps reduce the space needed per plant. In turn, this means more crops in a smaller area.
Indoor farming typically uses less water per plant than traditional farming and also produces fewer emissions. In turn, there is less pollution because indoor farms are typically closed systems, meaning synthetic fertilizers can’t leech into waterways.
One of the biggest barriers to entry for indoor farming is the startup costs. However, once you’ve got the equipment, a well-managed farm could be profitable in a few seasons. Of course, the farm must be supported by the right crops and good sales networks for this to be the case.
The short answer is no. Some crops (such as wheat or rice) need field farming because indoor farms simply can’t exist on the required scale. However, indoor farming can supplement traditional farming by focusing on small, high-yield crops such as leafy greens, strawberries, tomatoes, etc.
The biggest disadvantage of indoor farming is the required electricity. Using artificial light and temperature control is energy-intensive, which does cancel out some of the benefits of higher yields. However, connecting an indoor farm to a renewable energy source is the easiest way to negate this issue.
Indoor farming doesn’t require large amounts of arable land, which are typically far away from cities. Instead, you could use any building with the right amount of space. Growing crops in cities also reduces supply chain time, meaning people can receive them more quickly and with less environmental impact.