Farm up?

Agriculture is a staple for every nation In the world. The increase of conventional agriculture has caused forests and ecosystems to pay the price. To make way for these farms, corporations set fire to forests causing irreparable damage, and this is deeply saddening. Vertical farming is an idea that has been around for a while but has been kept hidden for most of its existence. Vertical farming is just what it sounds like. Farming with height instead of with a surface area like conventional farms.

  Many designs of this type of farm have been presented over the years but some also come with their unique challenges(link to a few of them here). Some of these designs are so advanced that they contain automated water distribution controls, led lights in certain EMR frequencies, and internal climate control systems. Sounds like something out of a science fiction movie right? 

The cool thing is these systems can provide any product and any time in the year. What’s cool is certain Michelin starred restaurants do this to grow rare edible herbs and flowers in house. Imagine waking up and craving a mango when it's out of season. Well, what if you could go to your local vertical farmer and get them fresh off the tree? Cool right! 

A down side of this technology is that it uses large amounts of water and electricity to run which makes it expensive to be cost effective. Solar panels can be a sustainable electricity solution to this problem. In terms of water, maybe we can create water collection systems to collect and purify excess water and reintroduce it into the system. 

Where’s Mal’s idea? Am I right. Well, I think for now we should wait for technology to advance before we go for these sci-fi builds. My solution is actually in the other direction where simplicity is key. Why not build on top of existing fields? The idea is to build a scaffold structure around the field without disturbing it and then a ceiling-floor like structure on top of the field. So it’s kinda like a second floor. Just leave gaps so the bottom layer isn’t affected too much by the lack of sunlight. Also, could mirrors be used to redirect sunlight to dark spots?? Back to the topic, these second floors can contain beds to farm on and the cool thing is rain and still get to them for watering. One downside is you will only be able to grow region-specific crops since this is an outdoor system. Also, a pro is this system shouldn’t require electricity. This is a rough idea but I still think it has potential.

        Now here is true virtual farming a tower that grows plants sideways. So basically how it works is that it is a tower that contains a column of dirt. With an open slit going along its side and this is where the plant sticks sideways out of the structure. Sunlight hits the structure and water can be poured in from the top so it doesn’t need any electricity. This is yet another way farming can be done, and it’s super cool to look at.

Here’s another alternative for big buildings: why not grow some food for daily use from the farm on a roof, balcony, floor, or backyard, because even a little makes a difference? It both gives your cleaner air and organic food. Anyone that has experienced farming or gardening has said it is the most calming and satisfying experience ever. A noble way for staff to take a break and recollect themselves. 

What I ask is before you burn down a forest, please consider alternative solutions to your problem. Vertical farming has potential and is not the only solution out there. Be mindful and bring better ideas to light!

Here are some additional links to learn more: (here, here, here)