The green revolution happened half a century a go, now it’s time for another revolution if we want to continue feeding the world population. Is this too extreme of an opinion? No, not in the slightest. Today we are faced with the same problem of an exploding human population while the rate o food production is going down. Large scale monoculture farming worked for us back then, but the effects it had on our world such as soil compaction and water pollution make it an irresponsible and outlandish idea to use in the modern day.
To help combat food distribution problems, the only answer would be urban gardening, which is the idea that small groups of people locally can work together to grow important crops. There are current projects underway that prove such an idea really works, like the Growing Power organization of Milwaukee. “On just 12,000 square feet of land in what Allen calls “the front yard of Chicago,” Growing Power cultivates 150 varieties of vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers. ” (Progress Illinois).
This goes to show that urban farming is a very important option. It is necessary that we also work to figure out ways of farming that utilizes all of the food and wastes little. “We lose as much as 30-35% of the world’s food output” (Guillou, 2010). The United States should look to Cuba for guidance in the use of urban gardens. Cuba has turned over most of the state owned farmland and allowed it to be turned into cooperatives, which allow anyone to come and farm there.
The way it works is that small plots of land throughout parks and cities have been used to house raised crop beds and the Cuban people have used companion cropping, crop rotation, and bio pesticides that do not harm the environment to accomplish this. Although Cuba is slightly different than America in that it is communist and all citizens equally share production output, the fact that common citizens work together on these small farms indicates it could also be done relatively easily in our homeland, because we do have the public park space to house it. They even allow farmers to be on the land rent free in some cases. Farmers lease state land rent free in perpetuity, in exchange for meeting production quotas. ” (Zepeda). But have these changes in their system had ay effects? Yes, actually the effects have been extremely positive. Potato and citrus production have increased 75% and 110%, respectively. These farms work so well in Cuba that they have a daily calorie intake of 2,500 calories despite being the 2nd poorest country in the Americas. There are many benefits to the community when it comes to urban farming. For one, it brings people together and allows them to work harmoniously in an environment they might otherwise never be in. he area around the garden will certainly look new and beautiful, setting the standard for the rest of the area and improving quality of life. It can also serve as a teaching tool for future generations, because what their parents learned while working with these urban farms will certainly be passed on in hopes of continuing our human legacy. It is also expected that programs like these will attract people from all different backgrounds, which is a good thing because it will allow people to connect and spread their knowledge around.
Growing Power states that “providing hands-on training, on-the-ground demonstration, outreach and technical assistance through the development of Community Food Systems that help people grow, process, market and distribute food in a sustainable manner. ” (Growing Power). When citizens learn about the use of vermicompost, which is the use of worms in composting, and other techniques being developed by Growing Power they feel empowered as well as more knowledgable about sustaining these farms. In the end this ensures the farms will not be forgotten or mismanaged.
Once one is successful in a certain community, perhaps, it will pave the way for those to teach others about it and the idea will mushroom from city to city. Vertical farming is an important invention that can be very successful and greatly improve our world’s food output, while saving space at the same time. “one vertical farm with an architectural footprint of one square city block and rising up to 30 stories (approximately 3 million square feet) could provide enough nutrition (2,000 calories/day/person)” (Vertical Farming).
There are many pros to this system, including year round crop outputs, reduction of weather related food shortages, and the fact that methane from the plants can add to the energy used in the process. While fossil fuels are still a big problem in society, this method almost completely cuts out these potentially harmful forms of energy. The soil also benefits from this form of farming. For one, it is less likely to be contaminated with pesticides, or be packed down into an unusable form. The fact is, vertical farming is a positive idea for people and the Earth alike.
One drawback to hydroponic systems is the fact that it takes containers to hold these crops, so the space they take up may be more than that of a traditional farm. It also may mean that less people are needed to run the vertical farm, which could eliminate jobs for the unemployed. The vertical farming systems are great because they reduce carbon footprints on a large scale. They are mostly self powered, because the methane produced by the plants can be used to power them. Also, they reduce the pesticides in drinking water, simply because they are not needed, as well as saving land space for other things.
It allows farmers to grow in unused buildings and industrial complexes, which otherwise would be serving no real purpose. The water in the farm could be used to and recycled, then the steam from the water could also be used for power. The reality is vertical farming is obviously one of the most sustainable ideas to increase food production out there, and needs to be taken seriously. The fact that it can be used in big cities is a plus because it allows more people to take part in the project, since it is a more densely populated region. Integrating food production into city living is a giant step toward making urban life sustainable. ” (The Rise of Vertical Farming). Large scale agriculture allowed humans to grow a large amount of food, however it did come with drawbacks. Pesticide use and over farming had negative effects on our ecosystems, and now we are working to stop this from happening further. In response to these problems, humans have looked to other ways of growing their food that is more ecologically sustainable. Vertical Farming has become the answer to this problem.
Because vertical farming does not take up much space, it can be implemented in urban areas, without the need to build new space for it. We have already seen that places like Cuba have used this method and done very well, so why not try it in larger nations that obviously need it much more in order to survive. One way to get the ball rolling is awareness and education. Teaching people how to do this, as well as setting up easy access locations where people can do it is essential to success. The government also needs to get involved. Start-up grants and government-sponsored research centers would be one way to jump-start vertical farming. ” (The Rise of Vertical Farming).
Works Cited citation: http://www. progressillinois. com/2008/09/09/features/growing-movement access November 17, 2010. citation: http://www. growingpower. org/ access on November 17, 2010. citation: Zepeda, L. 2003. Cuban Agriculture: A Green and Red Revolution. Choices, The magizine of food, farm and resource issues. 4th quarter 2003. citation: Buncome, A. 2006. Cuba’s agricultural revolution an example to the world. Seattle PI Opinion. Sunday, August 13, 2006. Accessed online @ http://www. seattlepi. com/opinion/280951_focus13. html on November 17, 2010. citation: Despommier, D. 2009. The RISE of VERTICAL FARMS. Scientific American, 00368733, Nov2009, Vol. 301, Issue 5 citation: http://www. eoearth. org/article/Vertical_farming access on November 17, 2010. Guillou, M. 2010. Interview with Marion Guillou in Q&A:What will it take to feed the world. Nature. Vol 464. 15 April 2010.