Urban Hydroponics


In this day and age when space is crucial and water is scarce, New technologies have risen to meet the demand that challenges the world. One of these new technologies is based on an older technology that has been around for centuries. many cities don’t have the space for gardens that produce flowers let alone harvesting crops capable of feeding people. What is Urban Hydroponics? 

Urban Hydroponics, is a method of growing plants without soil, usually on rooftops of apartment dwellers of densely populated urban areas where there is limited green space to grow, healthy, affordable quality vegetables with maximum utilization.

In the Biggest Cities in the world, grey spaces transform to beautiful landscapes and the sustainable gardens farmed by the tenants of the buildings and are gaining popularity.

 

Urban Rooftop Farming

 

Rooftop gardening is a productive and excellent choice for apartment dwellers in cities throughout the world who have limited space and resources to grow their own vegetables. These crops can be used to feed themselves or to sustain themselves as a business from neighborhood restaurants or grocery stores. The buildings themselves can be rented out or leased to others for income used in Rooftop Farming.

Hydroponics technology can make it possible for amateur farmers to create self-sustaining nutrient-rich food you can survive on. You can do this with little space and little knowledge. The possibilities and ideas are endless for this technology.

With minimum control and expense, tenants of a building, located in a city can grow food for the whole building or neighborhood. Hydroponics work with limited space and materials and are growing with popularity in the most populated areas with the most limited resources. Seeds or seedlings are used to grow in a nutrient-rich water based solution.

The water-based solution is specifically maintained for the crop yield that is desired. Ph and nutrients are used in a sort of recipe that makes the plants in different types of spaces that can be horizontal or vertically grown in abundant and create highly productive successful yields of different types and varieties.

The roots of the crops are in contact with water and nutrients for controlled times or are sprayed with the water-based nutrients to provide the same minerals and nutrients that the plant would receive in a soil based-environment found in normal farming. The total environment is controlled so that the plants can get the abundance of light, heat, and nutrients that can be given to them and with that can be harvested in half the time it would normally take. With a fraction of the water used and little manpower for the plant to get from the factory to the plate in 24 hours.

 

Farmers in India have had difficulties with farming for some time now. With overpopulation comes to water and air pollution that regenerates and thrives in the food cycle that is raised and grown there. With no access to clean water, farmers are forced to grow crops in dirty and polluted water that overtime causes disease. Polluted water is a breeding ground for parasites bacteria and E. Coli that are the main contaminants in polluted drinking water.

Besides India’s everyday battles with polluted water, there is also their ongoing battle with water scarcity and drought. Overcrowding, heat, and drought have caused big problems in India over the last decade, like in the city of Jaipur where the use of electricity increases the resident’s carbon footprint.

Their fear is this way of living will be compounding problems for the next generation of people in India. Groundwater which is India’s main source of drinking water is disappearing at an alarming rate. Changes in monsoons and rainfall are not recharging the groundwater system that will be needed to keep up with the growing population.

There is hope. It’s a growing change in the popularity of Hydroponics that sweeping the continent that will have a huge effect on the populations to come. Hydroponics is literally saving the health and future of India. Opening up their mind to change and adapting to some abstract and alternative methods is the key to saving the future of India and solving their biggest issues.

According to Urban Roof Gardens based out of the U.K., “green roofs” absorb up to 75% of rainfall which in turn reduces runoff and lowers the risk of flooding. Here. Gardens also provide habitats for native birds and insect populations. This is especially seen when one plants indigenous flora. Rare species are more likely to be seen when you plant rare plants. Through transpiration, the plants can actually cool the air and act as filter for oxygen production and carbon dioxide levels as well as reduce surface roof temperatures. Rooftop plants have the ability to trap 85% of airborne particulars on their leaf surfaces which in turn creates a healthier and cleaner environment for us.

There are so many more benefits to rooftop gardens that include: modifying urban micro-climates, improving overall air quality, insulating against heat loss in the winter and cool air in the summer. They can increase the property value, utilize under-used space, children can learn how to grow and manage their own food and they provide social benefits for gatherings and community teamwork.

In India, the use of Pesticides in crops has raised cancer rates and is now the second leading cause of cancer next to cigarettes. Besides the damage that it causes in the soil to beneficial bacteria and then in the crop rotation where it ends up back in crops, groundwater and feed for animals that also end up consumed in the food cycle. These Urban rooftop gardens can put an end to these problems that have been snowballing for years.

Vertical Farming Technology

 

The new technology in farming for Japan and other cities across the world has taken a little while to get used to but now is more than accepted. A cross between an Industry and Farming Vertical Farming used closed indoor facilities that can be used 12 months a year and weather has no bearing on the crop yield. Produce grown, can be shipped all over Japan in as little as 24 hrs. after it is harvested.

Temperatures and light are provided and engineered for optimal success in yields. New facilities being built can be even more efficient with water recycled at 98% and operating costs cut by up to 50%.

Japanese see this mix of agriculture and Industry as a wave for the future. A company called Sprout in Japan has been around since the early ’90s and is the largest producer of lettuce and the biggest user of vertical farming in the country. Their companies mission statement says “that they will continue to work for the realization of sustainable society while protecting the environment through the use of food technology for the comfort and future of children and future generations.”

At the beginning of the technology, people were cold and suspicious towards the idea of vertical farming but after years of supplying supermarkets and consumers tasting the produce, they have come to realize that there was no difference in the products. After the Nuclear problem in 2011 at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant people started looking at safe sustainable organic food a different way.

The people of Japan saw that new technologies would be possible in their country and would be needed. Vertical farming has health benefits that typical farming doesn’t have, like the non-use of pesticides. The factories that use Vertical Farming are spotless and the workers themselves are covered up.

This adds more protection for the consumer. The factories are reminiscent of high-tech microchip facilities and the result is a pristine workplace that ensures the safety of the product.

At Sprout, the growing cycle is 40 days as opposed to 2 months in a standard farm. There are no weather, land problems and bug problems so the price of the lettuce can be set and held without any fluctuations. They still expect to coexist with outdoor standard farming in the future. Places like Tokyo that are not suitable for farming can produce fresh delicious vegetables daily and able to feed their population without de[pending on others to do it.

Water that is an issue all over the world can be recycled evaporated in the Japanese process and reused again and again. Smart cities like Tokyo Japan use all modern technologies to help for planning their future and carbon footprint on the world.

 

Rooftop Hydroponic Garden

A Rooftop Hydroponic Greenhouse is a greenhouse located on the roof of a building, usually a commercial building that is outfitted with hydroponic systems and equipment. A normal standard dirt garden can weigh about 40 lbs. per square foot that is too heavy for a city building, where a hydroponic garden is as little as 8lbs. per square foot.

Rooftop farming can be attractive for building owners who can take advantage of the space and locality of the farms. There are lots of restaurants located in urban areas that use can these fresh vegetables. It’s a zero-waste system in that water and nutrients are not lost or washed away and recycled back into the system.

Converted warehouses that lay dormant in cities have a new reason to be reborn. Taking advantage of the top of the buildings and inside space of the abandoned factories, new sustainable food growing companies are now being developed in areas of the cities that were rundown and left to rot.

Once these forgotten spaces are revitalized, jobs come then people come. Opening up a new metropolitan area that starts to thrive and prosper. That is the dream and hope of many of these young entrepreneurs who see the future of sustainable food as a definite option for the next generation.

Along with the growing business in the city, are the Community gardens where residents can take advantage of growing rich vitamin-filled crops for their own tables. The schools in the city where the new technology is taught to the next generation of children who will also profit from it.

The opportunities for growing this food in your own neighborhoods will create other benefits that reduce the carbon footprint and produce healthy food at the same time. The food is closer to the consumer, within blocks. This eliminates the need for any chemical that is normally used to prevent spoilage and contamination.

There won’t be a need for these additives that reduce the nutrient value of the plants because the peppers or lettuce or whatever the plant base crop is, won’t be shipped across the country and warehoused for supermarkets miles away. The city market that used to be commonplace for getting fresh vegetables delivered by farmers to one location can now be available to everyone, everywhere.

There are still problems to work out. Not every rooftop in a dilapidated city can accommodate a greenhouse garden on its structure. There are also problems with delivering the nutrients and taking the harvest down off the building that is presenting themselves.

The farmers still need to know what they are doing. It’s not enough to have a good idea and location to make it all work. As an alternative way of growing food, Hydroponics is an easy decision but as a business, they are harder to make successful. Most already successful people in the business say that you need a good yield, crop selection, and price just as in standard farming to make things work.

There are no records for business plans for this type of business. Banks that typically lend money for businesses have no companies to compare to. It’s a new world when it comes to Hydroponic Rooftop Greenhouses. Local authorities will have to be involved with disposal and licenses for young business starters to produce and sell food. 

Most places in the country require residents to have permits to grow and distribute food and even harvest rainwater. These types of restrictions need to be looked at before new farming technologies can be used.  Biodynamics that builds and supplies Rooftop Greenhouses around the country. They have installed them at universities, restaurants and shopping malls across the state of Ohio. Because of the issues of weight, drainage, and transport of materials to and from rooftops, Tim Madden who is the President, thinks the top stories of parking decks provide a stable setting for urban rooftop hydroponic greenhouses.

He says that city parking garages are centrally located in the city and are structurally sound making them a desirable type of building that can be transcended over to a Rooftop Greenhouse using Hydroponic equipment and have the perfect design. “They’re designed to carry the extremely heavy and shifting loads of moving cars and trucks. They have to bear the physical stresses associated with vehicles for years on end. And they’re built to efficiently drain water and precipitation in all seasons.”

As for moving materials back and forth to the rooftop, Madden says, “It’s a simple enough matter in a parking deck to simply drive delivery trucks up and down the garage’s ramps to and from the greenhouse.”

 

How Do Green Roofs Work

The farm has moved from the country to the city. Converted factories and warehouses that have been long closed down are being renovated to become Vertical Rooftop Farms. Cities like Tokyo and New York City are being leased and rented out for this new technology that really is old technology.

These old dinosaurs structures are the perfect environment for climate-controlled, steel-framed giant spaces that can be transitioned to accommodate the Rooftop Gardens that can produce fresh, healthy, and nutritious crops that will sustain the people that live under and around them.

You can list your building or you land for businesses that need space to make their business work. Space is fast becoming a big part of the economy. With limited space, there are plenty of creative ideas for Urban Garden Ideas for people who want to learn. Having a school or factory in the middle of the city provides a way for companies to make a profit. It’s a win-win situation. Companies that want to get into the Solar energy or Rooftop Agricultural business need space to do it. If you have the building there is a company looking for it.

On this site, you can list your property for a chance to cash in at www.seglet.com. you can list commercial and residential buildings for free. If you have large usable roof space, you may be holding a valuable asset for solar companies who are looking for roof space to host their projects.

Especially in places with a Feed-in-Tariff, there is a rooftop rental market.

Your school or business or even your home can be listed here as a way for international energy alternative businesses to hook up with you and develop a business. Municipal buildings have been doing this type of thing with cell towers for communication antennas for years. If you ever seen cell towers attached to water towers that rise above the town’s skyline.

That property is rented by communication companies from the municipalities to use as high space for transmissions. Now that type of business is available for people who own space or building rooftops. This is also being done for homeowners in states like New Jersey and California for solar companies that offer money and incentives. Space is becoming a valuable commodity. If you got some you’re in business.

The benefits of Rooftop Gardening extended further than the world of agriculture. With realistic and leasing businesses capitalizing on space and the contractors who provide equipment that operate the systems it branches out. It revitalizes neighborhoods and effects them financially

These were considered dead districts inside the cities. The contractors that provide Hydroponic equipment like BioDynamicsHydroponics.com   set up greenhouses and LED lighting for Rooftop Gardening. 

They will provide whole Hydroponic Systems and even set them up for businesses. they provide Consultancy, Project Management, Construction, System Installation and Maintenance Services for commercial, institutional, educational, residential, and specialty applications using state-of-the-art technologies and processes. In other words Soup to Nuts. You can have the garden-sized to your needs and grow what you desire to grow.

They have over 5000 products and sell to commercial companies or hobbyists. They have an online store with everything you need to start indoor, outdoor or Rooftop gardens. BioDynamics believes that consumers of each greenhouse will have more choices in the future for all types of crops that will be local and available. 

Green Roof Benefits

In Rooftop Gardening the sun’s rays almost directly reach the plants. Pests are mostly alleviated because of the location of the gardens. A statically the concept is growing for simply the beauty of how rooftops in the city can be transformed from an eyesore to art using bushes and flowers and the landscape of the city.

Then with Rooftop Vertical Gardening comes the possibility of growing crops in wasted space of a rooftop that can deliver an abundance of fresh, healthy vegetables with the hydroponic equipment that can be outfitted together minimizing the need for land and space to make an Urban garden.

This garden can feed wholesome fresh organic food to the neighborhood at minimal cost and requirements of water and space. If the garden can be located indoors in one of the 1000’s dilapidated old factories that litter the Urban landscape, then there are more advantages that can be counted.

This seems to be the way for other cities in other countries. These greenhouses are the natural way to solve old problems such as water scarcity and the overuse of electricity to run air conditioners in the overpopulated Urban areas around the world.

Over 70% of contaminants in surface and groundwater come from agricultural chemicals. About 70% of freshwater usage goes to grow plants in agriculture. On the third of our productive farmland has been degraded in the last forty years. The use of Vertical Farming in Urban settings could alleviate the high use of water, land and lessen greenhouse gasses by taking away the need for distribution of the products already located in the city where most of the population already lives.

These ideas have been taking effect in big Urban centers like Vancouver or  Singapore. Besides the rooftop spaces of city buildings old steel mills and closed down factories are being opened up for use of Vertical Farming.

Vertical Farming comes in modular designs that are easy to fit in any type of old factory building that you would find in any city. Densely stacked beds and growing methods can lead to 75% produce per square foot than a traditional farm method. Controlled indoor methods disrupt the normal life cycle of pests so there is no need for herbicides, fungicides, or pesticides. Reusable material is used in the potting and growing of plants and the water is almost totally recycled.

Most Renewable Energy resources come directly or indirectly from the sun. The sun’s capacity for providing us with unlimited energy. Solar energy can be used for a variety of commercial and industrial uses. The sun alone provides the heat for buildings and energy to light them and along with the wind that drives turbines creating power, will dry water vapor that will return to the earth and help create hydroelectric power.

The sun will also create the necessary energy needed for plants to grow. This produces Bio-mass which then can be harvested to create more energy called Bio-fuel or Bio-energy.

Hydrogen is the most abundant element on earth and occurs in most organic compounds. It always occurs with other compounds such as with oxygen to make water. Hydrogen, once it is separated, can be used as a fuel and converted to electricity.

Other forms of Renewable Energy are Geothermal which taps the heat from deep inside the earth and Ocean Energy that is created by the Tidal movement brought on by temperature, winds the sun, and moon. These types of energy, wind, ocean, biomass, and solar are infinite and need to be harvested for us and future generations.

Old factories that were built 60 or 70 years ago with the intention of making nuts and bolts in the middle of Urban neighborhoods separated by churches and schools are being reinvented and transformed into another form of industry. Industries that are built out of necessity and from the ashes of a time long gone by.

These concepts are universal ideas from neighbors of a much bigger neighborhood. Building up instead of building out is the solution. The earth has gotten smaller and we all need each other a little more each day. The benefits of renewable energy are worldwide. We can all benefit new Sustainable Farming Methods.  

 

 

Jim has over 30 years in Water/Wastewater as a Consultant & the Water Filtration Business and has written over 300 articles on the World Wide Water Situation.

James Galloway

Author/Editor, MyWaterEarth&Sky

Related Questions:

indoor hydroponic wall garden?Hydroponics does not use soil, instead the root system is supported using an inert medium such as perlite, rockwool, clay pellets, peat moss, or vermiculite.

What are the 6 different types of hydroponic systems?  here are 6 basic types of hydroponic systems; Wick, Water Culture, Ebb and Flow (Flood & Drain), Drip (recovery or non-recovery), N.F.T. (Nutrient Film Technique) and Aeroponic.

 

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