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Communities around the world are desperate for quick and easy access to healthy produce. Thanks to innovative technology, farmers can control growing environments better than ever before. In this blog, we’ll look at several impressive innovations in controlled environment agriculture that push the boundaries of farming while setting new standards for sustainability.
Controlled environment agriculture (CEA) is a method of growing produce and crops where the farmers control various aspects of the growing environment. This technique often creates more sustainable and efficient harvests.
Indoor farming and vertical farming are considered types of controlled environment agriculture and often go hand in hand. Indoor farming creates a controlled environment inside an enclosure often relying on supplemental lighting and alternatives to soil. Vertical farming systems stack plants making the most of vertical spaces inside enclosures.
Most produce grown through controlled environment agriculture uses hydroponics. It’s the practice of growing plants in a mineral and nutrient-rich water solution instead of solely relying on soil. With hydroponics, crops often grow faster and healthier compared to traditional farming. Additionally, farmers can harvest crops throughout the year, unlike seasonal farming.
Innovative technology has evolved hydroponics, allowing CEA farmers to utilize iterations of the nutrient-rich water system. One example of this is aeroponics, which uses an air or mist environment rather than soil. On the other hand, Aquaponics constantly recycles the nutrient water of hydroponics, significantly minimizing run-off and water use.
Square Roots farm in Grand Rapids
While indoor farmers use a variety of indoor spaces and enclosures, many choose to work with modified shipping containers. Why? Containers offer durable, portable, and customizable solutions. Working with a container modification manufacturer, farmers can request specific modifications to each unit to help create the ideal environment for crops. Loading containers onto the bed of a truck helps simplify transportation and helps farmers begin growing quickly. Finally, reusing cargo containers helps organizations make another important sustainable choice—just as Square Roots did.
Did you know you can grow plants using sound? By using sound at frequencies higher than a human can hear, a company called LettUs Grow in the UK found that crops can grow twice as fast with less water when compared to standard hydroponic systems. The magic happens when the sound shakes the water, dispersing it into a mist that gives plants the ideal amount of nutrients and water based on its stage of growth. LettUs Grow sees promising signs of meeting the high demand for produce in the UK without having to sacrifice sustainability (Morrison, 2022).
New technology and innovative minds will continue to find new and improved ways to grow produce in the future. The practice of controlled environment agriculture will help propel our communities forward, getting people the food they need quickly and sustainably.
Falcon Structures is a shipping container modification manufacturing company working to build a better world by pioneering the use of container-based structures. Falcon modifies boxes to become storage units, workspaces, bathrooms & locker rooms, living spaces, industrial enclosures, and multi-containers.
Morrison, O. (2022, May 27). ‘There are so many different potential applications’: Indoor farming specialist pioneers ultrasonic technology to grow plants with sound. Foodnavigator.com. https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2022/05/27/there-are-so-many-different-potential-applications-indoor-farming-specialist-pioneers-ultrasonic-technology-to-grow-plants-with-sound?utm_source=copyright&utm_medium=OnSite&utm_campaign=copyright
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