Within the next fifty years there will be approximately three billion more people added to our planet. They will need to be fed. Using current technology, it will take an area nearly the size of the United States to grow this extra food. Most of the usable land in the world is already in use. So the challenge is to find a new way to grow food.
During the last few years a process called Aeroponics has grown in favor. Shortage of water supply in many areas has fueled interest in Aeroponics. This process has been explored by NASA, which is interested in it because astronauts will need to be able to grow their own food during lengthy trips to explore deep space.
Aeroponics does not use soil. Instead of using acres of land, gardens can be stacked in a multi-storied building. A wick-like cloth substitutes as soil and a mist saturates this cloth, providing all the water, nutrients and oxygen needed by the plants. In place of sunlight, the plants are grown using solar powered LED lights.
Some of the advantages of growing food using Aeroponics are listed below.
- The need for land is substantially reduced.
- Vegetables are grown in a self contained and controlled environment so weather problems such as drought, hail, storms, erosion of the soil, lack of sunshine, etc., are eliminated.
- Food can be grown all year. This results in shorter growing cycles. Instead of only two crops of tomatoes per year, the vertical farming process can yield six crops.
- Spoilage is reduced and shelf life is greatly increased.
- Evaporation is eliminated and the need for water is dramatically reduced.
- Since food can be grown nearly anywhere (even in urban areas), the cost of transportation is reduced and the need for gasoline is also decreased.
- Food grown without the need for soil eliminates soil borne diseases. This results in the food being cleaner and more sanitary.
- Plants still give off some residue, but this residue can be converted into energy. The energy produced is enough to power the LED lighting. This makes the vertical farm nearly self-sustaining.
- LEDs allow more even distribution of lighting and permit focused wavelengths of light.
- The need for fertilizer (made from petrochemicals) is eliminated.
- Vertical farming can be done using existing structures, thus permitting redevelopment of squalid areas.
- People can live and work in the city.
- This type of farming will attract a different type of farmer, and the labor force will be more educated.
- Vertical farming eliminates the need for pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Pests are not an issue because the food is grown inside a controlled space.
- Food grown using vertical farming contains more nutrients and vitamins and is healthier and less expensive.
- This controlled-environment farming is safer than traditional farming because it eliminates the sources of most farm accidents, which are caused by machinery, tools and exposure to chemicals such as fungicides and pesticides.
- Food grown in a controlled environment improves food safety and lessens the need for food inspection, because there is much less exposure to diseases like E. coli, salmonella, etc.
- Vertical farming does not depend on political stability in other countries to grow and export food.
- A vertical farm can be configured so that vegetables can even be grown underground. It is speedy to build and install.
There are only a few negatives about vertical farming. It is untested; farmers will require new skills and education to farm this way; not all plants can be grown with aeroponics, resulting in less variety of food.
Is this part of the “increase in knowledge” in the Latter Days spoken about in Daniel 12:4? No one knows for sure, but it just could be.