What To Know About the Ongoing 80 Acres Farms Indoor Vertical Farming Project
Food insecurity is increasing, and its impact is being felt by more than 38 million families across America. What’s worse is that population growth shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, with the number expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050.
Feeding these many mouths will undoubtedly be a significant challenge now that climate change has taken root. Traditional farming techniques we so dearly rely on doing more harm than good to the environment.
80 Acres Farm is leading the fight against world hunger one state at a time. Through their indoor vertical farming project, the company aims to find suitable ways to produce food without harming the environment. Read on to find out the details on their vertical farming project.
What is Vertical Farming?
Just as its name suggests, vertical farming is a farming technique that produces food on vertical surfaces. However, unlike other indoor farming methods that grow food on horizontal levels, the food produced here is stacked in perpendicular layers and integrated into other vertically inclined structures.
At the 80 Acres Farm project, the food (green leafy vegetables) grown is integrated into vertical buildings with elements such as temperature, humidity, light, and gases presented in controlled volumes. As such, vertical farming doesn’t consume boatloads of land or require natural factors to execute successfully.
How Does Vertical Farming Work?
Although there are different types of vertical farming, all aim to produce more food per square meter. Four critical areas are determined during the project’s development cycle to achieve this goal. These include the physical layout, lighting, growing medium, and sustainability features. Below is a detailed explanation of how the different indoor vertical farming types work:
- Hydroponic Vertical Farming: Hydroponic vertical farming uses an aqueous solution comprising all the essential nutrients required for plant growth. This farming technique includes modified hydroponic systems like the A-Frame and vertical grow towers, deep water culture (DWC), and aeroponics.
- Aquaponic Vertical Farming: Aquaponic vertical farming uses nutrient-rich fish water rather than an aqueous solution as a fertilizer for plants. Usually, the nutrients are converted into absorbable nitrates and then used to supplement nutrients in aquaponic systems.
- Growing Media Vertical Farms: In this type of vertical farming, plants are grown on a soilless medium like rockwool, perlite, and coir that is supplied with a nutrient solution for healthy plant growth. An excellent example of increasing media vertical farms is raised bed systems vertically stacked on top of one another.
The 80 Acres Farm indoor vertical farming project stacks vegetables in layers inside a tower-like plant. From there, combinations of artificial and natural lights with the help of technologies such as rotating beds administer light in the required amount for healthy crop production.
Are there Differences between Vertical Farming and Greenhouses?
These two farming techniques are often confused. However, there are significant differences between them in terms of cost, resource usage, output, and the ideal location to establish each.
In greenhouses, farming techniques include traditional methods that rely on nature’s elements for growth. Crops are also planted in single layers in an enclosed space with a ceiling and walls made of plastic or glass to control natural light in and out of the structure.
On the other hand, vertical farms are more recent innovations that use trays of hydroponic plants. They are stacked from the tower’s ground floor to the ceiling, with lights illuminating each layer. Climate control is also done by adjusting humidity, temperature, and other elements.
Benefits of Indoor Vertical Farming
Natural resources used in traditional farming methods are becoming scarce by the day. Vertical farming is a model that seeks to bridge this gap with far less space required and minimal impact on the environment. Some of the benefits of this farming type include:
Increased Production All Year
The age of farmers growing crops depending on the season is over. Unlike in the past, climate change has made it almost impossible to know the kind of season tomorrow brings. Even meteorological departments admit it’s harder to predict the weather today accurately.
Vertical farming guarantees all-year-round production for any vegetable or fruit, regardless of the season. The controlled conditions in this indoor farming method allow for consistent, high-quality production all year long with minimal dependence on the season’s climate.
Eliminates Environmental Impacts
The natural environment is degrading at an alarming rate due to human encroachment. For example, trees are being replaced by modern structures, while contamination of water sources seems to be a recurrent theme in most industries.
Indoor vertical farming significantly reduces the environmental risk posed by other farming methods. As such, man, wildlife and nature coexist peacefully with one another, relying on the benefits each provides to survive.
Less Space Used
The number of people migrating from rural to urban areas is increasing daily. Research shows that by 2050, 68% of the world population will reside in urban areas, meaning there will be little arable land available for cultivation.
Vertical farming maximizes space as the crops are grown in stacked layers from the ground to the tower ceiling. As such, it saves about 99% more land than traditional methods.
Minimal Water Usage
Regular cultivation requires tons of water for healthy plant growth. Unfortunately, with our lakes, rivers, and oceans drying up alarmingly, it is impossible to maintain traditional farming techniques.
Vertical farming uses less water than other agricultural methods. On top of that, this farming produces high-quality yields all year round through perpetual harvest and doesn’t rely on fossil fuels or other water-consuming energy sources.
Solves the Food Desert Problem
Food deserts are highly populated areas without access to vegetables, fruits, or fresh produce due to the high demand for these products and insufficient arable land. Many food desert regions can benefit from vertical farming as buildings can be constructed virtually anywhere and crops grown inside in a controlled environment.
All the Details on the 80 Acres Farm Indoor Vertical Farming Project
While vertical farming is still a relatively new concept, 80 Acres Farm believes it’s the future of farming. The performance of this project will set the pace for other regions with growing demand for food. Visit our website for more details on indoor vertical farming and its impact on farming.