Happy Independence Month: Urban Farming Helps Our Shared Environment
Looking back three and a half billion years ago to the origins of life, there existed a “primordial soup” of molecules and microorganisms that would later become…us, the human species. Although science hasn’t uncovered every step along our evolutionary journey, we do know one crucial element that is necessary for the creation and maintenance of life on earth: liquid water.
We are mostly made up of water and therefore fresh water and water rich foods, such as greens and vegetables, are key to our health and longevity. Accessing fresh food is becoming more and more of a challenge for our busy, high tech, often overwhelmed populace.
So how does this relate to the US economy, solutions to some obvious environmental and health issues, and to putting food on your kitchen table? Keep reading.
Although two thirds of the earth is covered in water, the amount of usable and available fresh surface water to sustain all terrestrial life is quite small. Only around 2.5% of the Earth’s water is fresh-water, half of which is frozen away in glaciers and icecaps. Of the remaining freshwater, only about 1.3% is accessible surface water.
Traditional, soil reliant agriculture accounts for around 80-90% of the nation’s consumptive water, most of which is used in monoculture-farming systems. These farming methods utilize flood irrigation and rolling sprinklers, both of which are known for their water use inefficiencies such as evaporation and non-point source watering that result in large water losses.
With rising average temperatures and longer droughts, the United States (and the rest of the world) is facing a water crisis.
However, TOWER GARDEN technology is now here. All we have to do is use it.
Tim Blank, founder and CEO of Future Growing LLC and the Tower Garden Company, has designed and patented a vertical aeroponic growing system, known as the Tower Garden. The Tower Garden allows plants to grow upwards in designated cubbies around twelve feet tall and does not rely on the use of soil or an aggregate medium.
With a small pump that utilizes a minimal amount of electricity, ten gallons of water is thrust upwards to the roots of the plants from the very base of the Tower. Because this process uses no soil and the water is enclosed and circulated, it does not waste water like traditional agricultural practices, preventing water loss due to evaporation.
The Tower Garden’s vertical structure allows us to grow our own food in almost any setting; think rooftops, patios, greenhouses, schools, parking lots – wherever. And, solar can be hooked up to a Tower Garden, at an additional cost, if electricity is not available.
This is good for our food security, but it is also good for the environment in general. By implementing “farms” of Tower Gardens atop urban rooftops, these urban food crops can consume the CO2 given off by people in cities and help contribute precious oxygen back into the environment for people and plants to consume.
So let’s review the potential benefits of the Tower Garden: saves precious water, provides sustainably grown veggies, requires no pesticide use or soil, can improve air quality, AND can potentially help to lower average urban temperatures.
Here’s how… As the sun beats down on buildings most of the radiation is absorbed by the building’s roof, which heats up and in turn radiates heat back to the local atmosphere increasing the city’s temperature. In largely developed areas, the average temperatures are higher than surrounding areas, a phenomenon known as an “urban heat island.” The Tower Gardens can help reverse the “heat island” effect and mitigate these increased temperatures by an estimated 3˚C.
How does one buy a tower garden or order succulent produce from people that have Tower Garden Urban Farms? An example of such a farm and point of sale for the towers can be found in Santa Barbara County, CA where Alex Thomson and Todd Mehl of Montecito Urban Farms have taken great strides towards creating a replicable urban farm model. Their farm showcases the technology, provides greens for many health-minded local eateries, is a workshop venue for eager customers, and they have their own farmer’s market twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Become a respected stop on the urban food trail. Visit: www.montecitourbanfarms.com or email us to understand more about the business opportunity here – for YOU! The Adventure Capitalists can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org