Agri’culture’ needs to change to hydroponic growing

By: Cynthia Solis

Growing hydroponically and aquaponically should be the new norm when it comes to farming.

Hydroponics is a technique for growing plants without soil. It involves using a mineral nutrients solution to grow plants like peas, tomatoes, green onion, and cucumbers. 

Growing aquaponically is quite similar to growing hydroponically. The only difference is that it combines aquaculture, which raises aquatic animals such as fish, snails, or prawns in tanks with hydroponics. In this case, the marine animal secretion makes for nutrient-rich water fed to the hydroponically-growing plants. 

According to National Geographic, “agricultural communities developed approximately 10,000 years ago when humans began to domesticate plants and animals.”

Through much trial and tribulation, they were able to create permanent settlements and farming. Since then, the farming industry has found ways to try and keep up with supply and demand, and they have made a decent effort keeping up with demands. 

It is no question that farmers do everything in their power to create successful growing seasons, so the harvest is plenty. Still, farmers cannot possibly keep up with demand while battling extreme weather conditions brought on by global warming. 

Agriculture is highly vulnerable to climate change. As temperatures continue to rise, it will eventually decrease the yield amounts of desirable crops.

According to the International Food Policy Research Institute, “there will be changes in precipitation patterns which will increase the likelihood of short-run crop failures and long-run production declines.” This means that if the population doesn’t perish due to intense natural disasters and other effects of global warming, humanity will die from lack of food because farming will become too complicated and impossible to control.

Thus, teaching farmers and future generations of farmers to grow hydroponically or aquaponically may be humanity’s last hope to survive global warming. 

There are many benefits to growing hydroponically and aquaponically. Some include the ability to control light, heat, nutrients, hydration, pests, and all other aspects of the growing process. Thus, with the right conditions, the entire growing cycle can be expedited and yield larger, faster-growing plants than traditional farming. 

Growing hydroponically and aquaponically can be done indoors. Some benefits of this is that the plants can grow year-round, have complete temperature and climate control, and there are fewer pests. This is done by implementing grow lights in the greenhouse. 

A growing light is an electric light that is designed to help plants grow. They either try to provide a similar light spectrum to the sun or a spectrum that is better tailored to the needs of the cultivated plants. Essentially, outdoor conditions involving light and temperature are given by the grow lights. 

Growing crops traditionally take up a lot of space, and field farms use a lot of water. In fact, “field farms account for 80% of the United States’ water use,” according to Pure Greens.

Plants grown in soil need space to spread their roots to find the water and nutrients they need to survive; plant roots grown hydroponically/aquaponically don’t need room to spread because water and nutrients are delivered to them. This new way of growing will also use about “10 times less water [than field farms] because it’s delivered in a controlled way. Plus, some systems recirculate water, reducing consumption even more,” according to Pure Greens.

There are tons of other benefits to growing hydroponically and aquaponically. Since our climate crisis is not going away anytime soon, due to politicians worldwide not taking the matter seriously, humanity must act quickly and learn new ways to adapt to the fast-increasing climate crisis.

Hydroponics and aquaponics are the future of farming, and it could potentially be humanity’s last fight against extinction. 

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