Is hydroponic farming actually sustainable?

According to the UN, the world is on the brink of its worst food crisis in 50 years. The global food industry is searching for a more sustainable and accessible system for producing healthy food, particularly fresh fruit and vegetables. Techniques such as hydroponics and vertical farming may provide the solution by maximizing overall output and minimizing the use of space, soil, and other resources.

But what exactly is hydroponic farming? And is it actually sustainable?

There are several main styles of hydroponic systems. One uses an absorbent wick to transfer nutrients from a water reservoir up to the roots of the crop. While others leave an air-gap, allowing part of the root system to absorb nutrients directly while the remainder is exposed to oxygen in the air.

Plants may also be positioned on a floating raft, or grown through a medium, into which water is regularly pumped. Top feeding also requires regular water circulation, while aeroponics involves leaving the roots completely exposed but frequently filling or misting the space with nutrient-enriched water.

Whatever the precise method used, hydroponics involves regular exposure to both air and nutrient-rich water. According to Vertical Roots, a South Carolina-based Indoor Hydroponic Container Farm, there are five core elements to hydroponic farming. These are fresh water, oxygen, root support, nutrients, and light.

By growing crops in water, vertically, and in climate-controlled greenhouses, Vertical Roots and other similar farms are able to produce nutrient-dense food anywhere in the world, at any time of year, and using fewer resources than traditional methods. 

Read more at Live Kindly (Liam Pritchett)

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