Vertical Farming in Urban Residential Areas

Vertical Garden

The practice of vertical farming is gaining popularity in the Philippines, particularly in highly populated regions like Metro Manila.

Temperatures in the Philippines average between 77 and 98 degrees Fahrenheit (25 and 35 degrees Celsius). Since farming must be done indoors due to the constant rain and humidity, food production is a challenge. By moving food production indoors, away from the dangers of natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes, vertical farming can help alleviate this issue. Other advantages of vertical farming include higher yields from crops, lower input costs for farmers who make their own items, and the creation of employment opportunities in rural places where basic infrastructure like running water and power is sometimes lacking.

The Philippines used to be a major exporter of fresh produce, but climate change and the pandemic have devastated the country’s agricultural industry, resulting in widespread malnourishment in the country’s major cities.

Vertical farming has gained popularity in the Philippines because it allows for the cultivation of previously imported produce in built-up urban environments using innovative technology adapted to the country’s tough climate, thereby supplying the Filipino people with large quantities of fresh organic produce.

This article may explain why vertical farming in the Philippines may solve its problems!

So, what exactly is vertical farming?

Vertical farming is a technique that involves growing crops in layers rather than in a horizontal fashion like conventional farming. Therefore, more plants may be produced in the same amount of space thanks to vertical farming. Imagine a platter piled high with fresh, crisp lettuce. The tower of trays on which it rests is enclosed. Each tray has a light fixture attached to it so that the plants can grow under artificial light. What you’re imagining is a vertical farm.

The idea of growing food in a dark environment may seem odd, but it’s actually quite efficient.

LED lighting, climate management, ventilation, and irrigation systems all contribute to the creation of these precisely managed environments, allowing for close crop monitoring, efficient water use, and insect prevention.

Also Read: Let’s Get Growing: The Basics of Hydroponics Gardening

What is the main goal of vertical farming?

The main goal of vertical farming is to maximize production with the least amount of impact on the surrounding environment by utilizing natural resources. More so than conventional methods of cultivation, it encourages the practice of precision agriculture as well as agriculture that is sustainable in nature.

Vertical farming law in the Philippines

Food insecurity is a growing problem in the Philippines; hence, the government has been encouraging the use of urban agriculture techniques.

When the COVID-19 outbreak hit the Philippines, for instance, the government established a law encouraging the use of empty lots and other public places in the country’s urban centers for community gardening.

To further the cause of urban environment management, Philippine Senator Francis Pangilinan has introduced Senate Bill (SB) 257, the Urban Agriculture and Vertical Farming Act of 2019. He explains, Aside from the joy of saving on grocery bills, there’s also joy in harvesting and eating your own produce.

The Philippine Department of Agriculture has prioritized 18 measures to address food insecurity in the country. The National Research, Development, and Extension (RDE) Network for Urban Agriculture Program in the Philippines is an integral part of this, with its focus on the development of suitable cultivation methods such as vertical agriculture, hydroponics, bio-intensive gardening, and greenhouse farming suited to urban settings.

To that end, the government is actively supporting technology and innovation, including digital agriculture. Such methods incorporate analytics and automated technologies that can enhance productivity on farms and reduce waste through the use of analytics to facilitate data-driven farming methods for small farmers.

Vertical farming could help the Philippines in many ways.

The Philippines may gain many benefits from vertical farming. As a result of being able to increase agricultural yields with a smaller footprint than was previously possible with conventional farming methods, food waste would be drastically reduced. Less area is required for vertical farms, which aids in resource conservation and prevents pollution or contamination of water supplies.

The lack of pesticides and fertilizers in vertical farms reduces the overall chemical load on the food produced. They also help save money on transportation costs because it only takes one person to transport a lot of goods, rather than two or more people who might be working at different jobs (for example, you might be working in an office during the day while your spouse works outside of town to make ends meet). Finally, the lack of need for any materials beyond what fits inside a storage bin (and maybe some tape) in vertical farming results in lower packaging costs.

Read also: Making Money with Investments in Agriculture

5 Advantages of Vertical Farming

There are five main benefits to vertical farming:

1. Better use of space

Obviously, agricultural land is essential for traditional farms. However, vertical farms can be constructed regardless of the weather or location.

In addition to increasing output per square meter of land, vertical farming’s stacking grow systems make it possible to grow more plants in the same space.

One acre of vertical farmland might reliably produce as much as 10 or 20 acres of soil-based farmland, depending on the crop being cultivated.

2. Reduce how much water you use.

The utilization of Hydroponic growing methods, which require significantly less water and, consequently, fewer nutrients and fertilizers, is one of the primary advantages of vertical farming. Clean water after use not only saves money but also reduces waste through recycling and reuse.

3. Absolutely zero use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides

With proper management, growing food on a vertical farm can fully eliminate the need for pesticides, as pests are prevented from entering the controlled environment and causing crop damage, while fungal diseases are hindered in their spread due to controlled humidity levels.

The final product is better in quality, with clean, dry leaves that are ready to eat and reduce the risk of food poisoning.

4. Unaffected by bad weather

Having no need for or concern about the weather is a major benefit of growing in a totally enclosed and climate-controlled environment.

Vertical farming guarantees a yield every time, unlike traditional farming methods that are vulnerable to environmental factors like wind, rain, and pests.

5. Environmental friendly

Because it is not necessary to plant, fertilize, weed, or harvest crops, indoor farming can be beneficial to the environment. This is because it drastically minimizes the amount of fossil fuel that is required for agricultural equipment.

Vertical farming also contributes to the improvement of biodiversity because it does not cause any disruption to the land surface. This, in turn, makes it easier for the native animal population that resides on and around farms to flourish.

However, with its advantages comes the disadvantage of vertical farming.

5 Disadvantages of Vertical Farming

1. High dependence on technology.

Farmers that want to engage in vertical farming must make significant investments in a wide range of technologies and equipment to keep track of the environmental factors including humidity, light, temperature, and more. However, the failure of even a single piece of equipment might disrupt the entire cultivation process, reducing output. It has been argued by several agricultural specialists that the state of the art in agriculture technology prevents vertical farming from functioning efficiently.

2. Less pollination.

Although pests are less likely to invade a farm with strict environmental controls in place, natural pollination by bees, butterflies, beetles, and birds is reduced. Here, growers have to switch to time-consuming and labor-intensive manual pollination.

3. A large amount of energy is required.

If a vertical farm is to be operated entirely indoors, then all natural light must be supplemented by artificial means. Therefore, the cost of electricity, even with LED lighting, will be quite high.

Considering that we still rely heavily on coal to power our economy, we have to wonder if this type of farm is viable in the long run.

4. They can be expensive to begin with.

Due to the high costs of building and technology, vertical farming in the Philippines can be expensive. Because of this, real estate investors are hesitant to put their money into vertical farming.

5. Only a few crops can be cultivated profitably.

Vertical farms can grow any plant species, but only a few are profitable. Due to their rapid growing cycle, high cost, and short shelf life, leafy greens and herbs dominate vertical farming in the Philippines and worldwide. Vertical farmers like leafy greens because of their high profit margin and ease of cultivation.

What is the difference between vertical farming and hydroponics?

Hydroponic farming offers a fascinating alternative to conventional farming methods that rely on the use of soil. Hydroponics is a growing method in which plants are grown without soil but instead in nutrient-rich water solutions. This leads to faster and more efficient plant growth. Using this soil-free method, farmers may cultivate everything from lush greens to tasty fruits and vegetables. While vertical farming uses soil in a vertical way to grow plants and vegetables, It can also save a lot of space and is practical for those who are planning to plant in the most efficient and space-saving way possible.

Read: Let’s Get Growing: The Basics of Hydroponics Gardening

How effective would Hydroponics be on a vertical farms?

Combining hydroponics and vertical farming can result in even more effective and productive setups. Let’s dive deeper into the ways in which hydroponics are being utilized in vertical farming.

Hydroponics is being used to grow lettuce and other leafy vegetables, for example. Seedlings from this are increasingly being grown in hydroponic vertical farms with LED lighting. Space may be maximized, and the growing environment can be precisely regulated, resulting in the harvest of high-quality vegetable plants, by stacking many levels of plants, each under its own LED light.

The cultivation of leafy greens in urban areas has also found success through the use of hydroponic vertical farming. Lettuce, kale, and spinach, among others, may be produced year-round in greenhouses, giving city dwellers access to fresh produce. Food production in urban settings has a new practical choice in hydroponic vertical farming, thanks to its effective use of space and resources.

This is the future of agriculture; it’s vertical!

You won’t have to look very hard to get predictions regarding the course that agriculture will take in the future. There is an increasing amount of research that suggests vertical farming may play an important role in the landscape of agriculture in the future. Farms are becoming increasingly high-tech as AgTech continues to evolve, which enables farmers to produce more, pollute less, and tackle the difficulties that will face us as we move into the future.

Additionally, there is a strong possibility that the technology used in vertical farms will progress. This might involve the use of AI-driven CEA systems, robotic monitoring and harvesting, and a whole lot more. As we strive to tackle the problems that lie ahead of us, one thing appears certain: the use of vertical farms will most likely become far more popular.

Indeed, Vertical farming is an excellent method for the production of food of a high standard. Additionally, it is better for the environment because it minimizes the amount of fresh water and fertilizer that are required. Because of its tropical environment and abundance of sunlight, the Philippines is an ideal location for this kind of agriculture. If you have your crops grown in vertical farms in Manila or any other part of the Philippines, you won’t have to worry about soil erosion or bugs eating your produce because they won’t be able to get to them! Having your own vertical farm in your own house would be a great idea.

Read also: Modern Agriculture: Key To Faster Recovery and Poverty Reduction?

With Bria Homes, an affordable house and lot in the Philippines, you can get your own house and lot at a reasonable price! With this, you can have your own vertical farm thrive and possibly make a profit from it. It is the perfect spot to grow your plants because Bria Homes promotes an environmentally friendly community where you can grow your plants in a healthy and environmentally friendly community! Inquire now to learn more about Bria Homes!

Written by Darlene F. Semera