A new research attempts to study various aspects of a controlled environment for food production and how it can be used in contexts of urban agriculture.
The research was conducted at the University of Florida and is published in the journal HortScience.
With the industrial revolution and land and labor shortage, the agriculture sector moved away from urban areas. However, today issues associated with the sustainability of food systems are making a comeback for urban agriculture. The study is important as controlled systems can help boost urban food systems.
Controlled environments pose several benefits like improve plant quality, predict plant responses, optimize plant yield and increase production efficiency.
The researchers examined multiple facets of the controlled environment like humidity control, carbon dioxide enrichment, food safety, water and soil cycling, and the environmental footprint, electric lighting, economic factors, amongst others.
Amongst the topics described by researchers - energy consumption is reduced and product quality is improved by light-emitting diodes, plants can be grown in non – conventional spaces with the help of soilless culture systems. Also, Vacant rooftops of city buildings can be utilized to build greenhouses that can capitalize on sunlight to produce plants which will have an added benefit of a consumer’s proximity.
However, for the successful implication of controlled environment on urban agriculture various factors are required to be analyzed like location, crop produce, facility design and an understanding of local demand and supply etc. Also, researchers suggest that the sustainability of these urban farms will further depend on local market trends, capital investments, operating costs amongst others.
Researchers believe that the structured and well planned controlled environment approaches will not only secure the food supply to an extent but will boost local economies as well.
Tags : controlled environment, food production, urban agriculture, University of Florida, HortScience,