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Golden Age Technology

The Future of Agriculture: Vertical Farming and Hydroponic Technology

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Vertical farming is a method of growing and harvesting crops on vertical shelves or towers rather than on land, as in traditional horizontal farming. Vegetables and other foods are produced indoors using controlled environment agriculture (CEA) technology.

Vertical hydroponic technology is favored by many agritech companies and home growers, as it requires 90% less water to grow food, and no pesticides or herbicides. Currently, six main types of hydroponic systems are in use around the world. We’ll examine the most common methods.

Next is one of the most popular hydroponic methods, the nutrient film technique (or NFT). “We’re definitely creating a new generation of farmers. Local Roots uses 97% less water than outdoor agriculture. We have a main reservoir in the middle of the farm. These are our NFT channels and the water will run through, the plants will absorb what they need, and then it’ll get back in our sump tank, get cleaned out, and then go back into the reservoir to repeat.”

AeroFarms, located in Newark, New Jersey, USA, is one of the world's largest vertical farms using aeroponic technology. “On one hand we are a farming company; on the other hand we’re a technology company. We grow a plant typically from seed to harvest in about 15 days versus what’s 30 to 45 days in a greenhouse or in a field. The benefit of vertical farming is our productivity is extremely high in a small footprint.”

Farmers in the Netherlands are also growing more food using fewer resources through the hydroponic system. “We have only 14-and-a-half hectares and we are producing around 100 million tomatoes a year. The idea about this greenhouse is we even use less water; we use 50% less energy. Our tomato plants grow in a hydroponic system so we know for sure that everything is clean and we can steer everything very precisely. We use all the new techniques and all the innovations with the minimum impact on the environment.”
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