The World Hunger Organisation estimated in 2018 that 815 million people worldwide do not have adequate access to food and nutrition. Considering this, it is clear we need to rethink our food production methods and beliefs radically. A huge disruptor and potential solution to this problem are hydroponic farming methods.
Hydroponic growing is a process of plant cultivation that does not involve soil. The hydroponic system relies on the use of inert media, like gravel and sand to supply all the necessary nutrients for the plants. Hydroponics is a system that does not depend on soil. Instead, it relies on the use of inert media like gravel and sand to supply all the necessary nutrients for plants. This type of gardening can be done in any climate or environment without worries about weather conditions affecting the crops. For this reason, it is rapidly transforming the way we think about farming and food production. This article will cover how hydroponics are revolutionising the way our food will be grown in the future.
Plants can be grown far faster using hydroponics. This is because plants in hydroponic systems do not have to use energy from sunlight, water or nutrients that would otherwise be used for root growth. In hydroponics, plants grow healthier than soil-grown plants, and they absorb nutrients more efficiently.
They also do not have to compete with resources and fight insects, weeds or soil-borne diseases. This allows the plants to prioritise their growth, which is another reason they can grow faster.
With some plants, grow lights can feed the plants much more light than they would regularly receive, and they will still grow effectively and healthily. This can allow certain crops to “super grow”, which could be helpful in food scarce parts of the world.
Plants grown in hydro usually yield about 20% more fruits or vegetables than those grown conventionally because they use their resources more efficiently.
Hydroponics uses far less water than traditional gardening. This is because hydroponics use water-filled, nutrient-rich containers to grow plants. The plant roots are planted in this solution and do not need to be in the ground. This breaks up water loss so much that hydroponics uses only about 20% of the water that traditional gardening would use. This is very important if farmers are trying to grow food in parts of the world that do not have plentiful access to clean water or are affected by droughts.
No Climate Limitations Or Soil Erosion
Hydroponic farmers can grow plants indoors without being subjected to the conditions of their climate. Farmers do not have to worry about light or weather conditions. So farmers can control all of the variables. Starting a hydroponic garden indoors is relatively inexpensive and easy if they have access to sufficient sunlight indoors. Farmers can control the temperature, humidity, and light in an indoor hydroponic garden, making it a more stable environment for their plants.
However, some hydroponic farmers may not have access to electricity or profitably produce enough by using artificial lighting and climates. If this is the case, they can still use hydroponic growing methods directly in sunlight or a greenhouse as long as the plant they are growing is suitable or semi-suitable for the plant.
No soil erosion, no weeds, and a lot less work to maintain the hydroponic garden meaning farmers have more time for the things that matter. This also means this method is much more sustainable than our current farming practices, which can leave the soil unusable after some time due to soil erosion and chemical fertilisers. Since water is used instead of soil, spills can easily clean without worrying about chemicals seeping into the ground and contaminating it like dirt farming methods.
No Weeds Or Pests
Hydroponics do not need pesticides or herbicides because there are no weeds or bugs if grown indoors or in a greenhouse. Pests can be controlled without using harmful chemicals.
This means that farmers without access to pesticides and herbicides can grow plants and allow for food production without potentially harmful pesticides and herbicides on the food. There have been many cases of pesticides that were thought to be harmless later being found to be highly toxic, such as Glyphosate.
Hydroponic growing uses less space because there are no plants to worry about watering, and soil is not needed. Farmers can grow a hydroponic garden reasonably quickly in any environment without worrying about weather conditions. This way, the plant’s roots will have an easier time reaching all their nutrition sources, so there is a successful harvest. With hydroponics, the roots are constantly bathed in water, which means that there is no worry about keeping the precious plants sufficiently hydrated and stress-free during droughts or periods of extreme heat. Hydroponic gardening also uses less water than soil-based gardening, which means less maintenance and more savings. Hydroponic gardening also uses less space because farmers can grow a variety of different plants next to one another without worrying about soil, which means that it is better for the environment and a more sustainable way to grow food.
Vertical hydroponic farms allow farmers to grow plants on top of each other and use considerably less space to grow a large amount of food. These are currently being looked at for use in large cities to create food locally and NASA for food production in space.
These are some of the reasons why hydroponics are a promising solution to the world hunger crisis. Over the next few decades, we could see a complete overhaul of the way we produce our food. The future of food production is looking very promising, provided we invest the resources into further researching and creating hydroponic farming systems across the world.