What is Controlled Environment Farming?
Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) includes; indoor/internal agriculture (IA) & vertical agriculture have a technology-based approach to food production. The purpose of the CEA is to provide protection against external elements and maintain the best effort for crop development. Production occurs with growing structures such as greenhouses and factory plants.
Plants can provide appropriate amounts of water and nutrients into the roots to grow appropriate light of the routine attached to the expansion medium. CEA applies the use of resources such as water, energy, space, capital, work. CEA’s technologies include hydroponics, aeroponics, aquaculture, and aquaponics.
Various techniques can be used to grow food in a controlled agricultural environment. The greenhouse industry is currently the largest component of the CEA industry, but another fast-growing sector is the vertical farming industry. Environmentally controlled agriculture is capable of producing crops all year round and can increase yields by varying the amount of carbon and nutrients that plants receive.
Given urban agriculture, CEA can be in reusable structures or basements, or spaces that are specially constructed for custom structures. This trend is becoming an alternative food network as entrepreneurs and households strive to meet the growing demand for fresh food.
Types of Farming Environments
Different words are used to describe the same thing, depending on the country or region, or type of producer. Here is a brief description of the different CEA growth environments.
Indoor agriculture/farming refers to the production of products that use complimentary lighting such as LED light instead of sunlight and provide the ability to control the environment. This type of controlled environment farming can include changing rooms, warehouses, containers, factories, and other indoor spaces that are not normally designed for growing crops.
Vertical farming is the production of crops that use vertical space. The plants can be placed horizontally or in tall towers. This type of agriculture requires less land for agriculture and is ideal for small areas such as shipping containers and other high-density areas.
Popular CEA Tecniques
Hydroponics is a type of horticulture and a subset of hydroculture in which plants, usually crops without soil, are grown using mineral nutrient solutions in an aqueous solvent. Terrestrial or aquatic plants may grow with roots exposed to the nutrient fluid, or in addition, the roots may be physically supported by an inert medium such as perlite, gravel, or other substrates. Despite inert media, roots can cause changes in the pH of the rhizosphere, and root exudates can affect rhizosphere biology and the physiological balance of the nutrient solution through secondary metabolites.
Aquaponics uses fish. It happens that the work done by fish (food and waste) is the perfect fertilizer for plant growth.
One of the most amazing things about aquaponics is that it mimics the natural ecosystem. Aquaponics is the relationship between water, aquatic life, bacteria, nutritional dynamics, and both plants that grow in watercourses around the world. Through natural hints, aquaponics has used the power of bio-integration of these individual components: the transformation of fish waste products into bacterial food, the transformation into a complete fertilizer for plants, so that the water returns to a clean and safe fish form. As a mother does in any aquatic ecosystem.
Benefits of Controlled Environment Farming
Farmers in a controlled environment can produce high-value crops with the highest productivity in an efficient and environmentally friendly way. This innovation brings the opportunity to produce crops throughout the year and not be affected by adverse weather and climatic conditions. This creates a large increase in output with fewer inputs. Controlled environment farming practice, together with the reduction in the use of fertilizers, water & pesticides, has changed the growing environment. It allows farmers to offer consumers products that taste better. Urban agriculture brings food closer to the urban population, thus protecting the environment by reducing food-related emissions. While rooftop farms bring a new dimension to the city’s renovations, urban farming connects people with nature and creates relaxed and peaceful urban zones.