Can you think of a farming method that gives seventy times the yield of traditional farming, that uses 95% less water, produces pesticide-free greens and requires less nutrients for plant development (Vyawahare, 2016)? This farming method first came around in 1911, but only in 1985 did it leave the laboratories and became commercially used (Clawson, 2018). The farming method that I am going to introduce today is the aeroponic farming.
Aeroponic farming grows plants in an air environment without using soil. This method is unique in a way that can provide for a completely monitored environment for growing greens. Not only it crosses out the occurrence of any natural diseases, such as Mosaic and White Rust, but does also completely eliminates a possibility of the greens catching the deceases from the neighbouring factories, like we had just witnessed with the recall of romaine lettuce due to a spread of E.coli (Young, 2018). Aeroponic method of farming is also visibly more sustainable: less resources are needed to produce the food (less water and less nutrients), aeroponic farming can be done indoors in any forgotten locations, thus creating jobs in places where the business was abandoned, and also allowing people to farm at home (more on that later), and finally, taking into account that one can utilise a lesser space to produce a larger output of consumer product – it is notably more financially profitable than conventional farming.
The embodiment of one of the great ways, how the aeroponic farms can utilise the any space, is the largest by now aeroponic farm, located in New Jersy, that occupies a 70k square foot abandoned factory (Kohlsted, 2017). Another example would be an old subterranean WWII bomb shelter in London, that was converted in a farm, that serves local restaurants (Kohlsted, 2017). Several more amazing examples of aeroponic commercial farming are being developed around the world and exist already.
One of the most interesting for me personally ways to utilise this innovation in farming is a possibility to use it in home conditions. Even IKEA had already caught a “fiver” of the aeroponic agriculture by offering to its customers aeroponic kits (Rhodes, 2016). Just imagine how convenient it would be for restaurants, cafes and just home cooks to be able to have fresh, nutritious and diseases-free greens on hand at any time they are needed? There is already a trend for more sustainable cooking in the industry, more seasonal menus, local produce, etc. However, the possibility to grow your own greens and soon vegetables and fruits inhouse could change the game.
After visiting Hong Kong and Singapore, I had also become fascinated about the idea of using the natural greens for the interior design. In other words, aeroponic farming can also serve as a great décor for the restaurant creating a better neurogastronomy and more pleasant experience for the customers.
At the moment aeroponic farming is already commercially used and is gaining new fans with each day. This farming method can also produce a greater variety of greens, in comparison to any other single conventional farm. However, it is still limited in terms of what kind of plants can be farmed using this method. Nevertheless, continuous research is undergoing and, no doubt, soon we will have aeroponically grown potatoes and pineapples.
This farming method is absolutely vital for people right now for the environmental reasons but also can be a more profitable way to farm. Restaurants can also benefit from aeroponic farming: they can order locally organic, disease-free greens any time of the year, and they can also start farming inside their restaurants as well, which can potentially be even more attractive.
Clawson, J. (2018, December 6). Aeroponics. Aeroponics research report. Retrieved from: http://www.aeroponics.com/aero43.htm
Kohlsted, K. (2017, March 27). 99% invisible. From Home Aeroponic Gardens to Vertical Urban Farms. Retrieved from https://99percentinvisible.org/article/agricultural-futures-vertical-urban-farms-home-aeroponics/
Rhodes, M. (2016, May 20). Wired. IKEA’s clever kit makes indoor farming as easy as it’ll get. Retrieved from: https://www.wired.com/2016/05/ikeas-clever-kit-makes-indoor-farming-easy-itll-get/
Vyawahare, M. (2016, August 14). The Guardia. World’s largest vertical farm grows without soil, sunlight or water in Newark. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/14/world-largest-vertical-farm-newark-green-revolution
Young, L. (2018, November 22). Global News. Public Health says it’s not safe to eat romaine lettuce in Ontario and Quebec. So why isn’t it being recalled? Retrieved from: https://globalnews.ca/news/4686073/romaine-lettuce-e-coli-warning/