Local and sustainably grown foods are becoming more popular among general public. As food grown in this way becomes more competitive in pricing, the popularity can only increase. For farmers using hydroponics, this means that analysis of their farm economics and business strategy needs to be evaluated often. Profit margins for hydroponic greenhouse farms are generally expected to be at a minimum of 50%, but with organic methods this margin can increase to 60%. Further analyzes can uncover additional changes that can be implemented to increase the profit even further.

Key Takeaways:

  • There is a huge market for locally-grown food, so farmers need to make sure their prices are competitive.
  • Choosing how to grow is difficult, with many options ranging from traditional to high-tech.
  • One of the best cost-effective methods of growing is a greenhouse, especially combined with organic methods.

“A typical greenhouse farm can expect gross profit margins that range from 50% – 65% for lettuce and tomatoes.”

Read more: https://www.hortidaily.com/article/9225135/farm-economics-soilless-hydroponic-farm-costs/

The indoor agriculture marketplace is seeing accelerated changes during times of Covid-19 and concern for climate change. The need for food security is causing a lot of places to start vertical and hydroponic growing systems indoors. These systems are allowing farms to produce A-grade food without needing soil and as much water resources. The food also gets to be distributed locally. Many hobbyists are also getting into these trends. The need for change is sparking a lot of innovation.

Key Takeaways:

  • A new webinar series will focus on the big trends happening with indoor farming.
  • The webinar series takes the place of a convention that was cancelled because of the pandemic.
  • Trends include things demanded by customers like plant protein, the use of robotics, and more.

“From COVID-19 to climate change to food security concerns, there are a number of factors accelerating megatrends shaping the indoor agriculture marketplace”

Read more: https://www.greenhousegrower.com/production/what-are-the-megatrends-shaping-indoor-farming/

The COVID-19 disruption has exposed supply chains to volatility rarely seen before. Indoor vertical farming promises to shorten food supply chains by bringing food production closer to consumers. It also uses far less land and water, and no pesticides. The problem with vertical farming is the huge amount of energy required to power the indoor facilities. A possible solution lies in microgrids, which localize power generation and bring multiple clean energy benefits. Setting up microgrids requires a lot of upfront capital, but innovative business models like energy-as-a-service have helped to make the investment more attainable.

Key Takeaways:

  • Vertical farming is taking off as an alternative in large part because of the panic around the pandemic.
  • Most vertical farms use microgrids to supply their specific energy needs.
  • There are business models in place to help small farms secure microgrids and the technology they need.

“Despite the major advantages, there is one looming barrier to mainstream adoption: the process is very energy intensive.”

Read more: https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2020/06/16/sustaining-the-future-of-indoor-vertical-farming-with-microgrids/

San Diego has launched a new Urban Farmer Website on June 15th. City administrators predicted a new found interest in Urban farming based on Covid19. Residents in the city are being asked to shelter in place and limit grocery trips. Permits are not required to raise hens or pygmy goats and San Diego Chicken exchange groups have hit Facebook. There are very few people complaining and you can even keep up to two bee hives at your place. Many other farmers, who are not raising animals grow crops! Tower Gardens are popular and people grow herbs, leafy vegetables and other vegetables.

Key Takeaways:

  • San Diego has created a new website for urban farmers in the area.
  • With the pandemic, urban farming has become more popular than ever, but up to now there has been no tracking system.
  • Urban farmers can grow animals like chickens or goats, or take advantage of rooftops to grow vegetables.

“They grow a variety of herbs; leafy greens such as lettuce, kale, collards and Swiss chard, and non-root vegetables, including tomatoes, aeroponically in vertical towers.”

Read more: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/columnists/story/2020-06-17/column-covid-fuels-urban-barns-and-rooftop-farming

Director General of the European Commission, Wolfgang Burtscher, has recently announced that organic farming is more feasible for the environment in the long-run. By 2030, the commission plans for 25% of all EU farmland to be organic. Not only will this help the biodiversity of the area, but it will also provide consumers with healthier produce. Also, Burtscher believes that grazing livestock can have a beneficial impact on biodiversity despite reports of the contrary. Overall, the EU is very seriously taking part in saving the environment.

Key Takeaways:

  • Organic farming comes down to making biodiversity possible. Although it may not be easy, it is very important for the environment.
  • Although we need to make enough food for 9 billion people, we have to make sure the environment is live-able.
  • Livestock can be really important for bio-diversity but extensive livestock can start to bring unwanted problems. It’s about finding a balance.

“The commission’s biodiversity strategy says that 25% of EU farm land must be under organics by 2030.”

Read more: https://www.farmersjournal.ie/organic-farming-more-sustainable-in-environmental-terms-550360

If farmers don’t take control of the climate change debate, they will get pushed around. This is why former NFU Scotland president Nigel Miller is taking on the joint chairmanship of Farming for 1.5 Degrees. Based in Edinburgh, the group has 10 farmers, scientists and environmentalists as members. As a livestock farmer and a qualified vet, Miller sees that issues are not one-dimensional. He believes that feeding people, maintaining biodiversity, and managing climate change have to go together.

Key Takeaways:

  • Under the most extreme model, all farms would be either vertical or greenhouses and livestock would be mostly pigs and poultry.
  • Agricultural output could increase from 20 to 40 percent, but red meat and dairy would decrease by 50 percent.
  • Consumers may have to pay more for their food once these changes to take place.

“Feeding people and maintaining biodiversity have to go hand in glove with managing climate change.”

Read more: https://www.fginsight.com/news/farmers-must-take-control-of-the-climate-change-debate-109263

Typical procedure for fertilizing melons in a hydroponics bay was to just dump it all in(and thereby over fertilize). Now, experimenters are realizing that different kinds of nutrients affect the melons in different ways. One nutrient set affected how thick the rind was and how dense the fruit was. Another nutrient set affected the taste and smell of the fruit. So, careful fertilization and application of nutrients will yield the best possible melons from each crop.

Key Takeaways:

  • Hydroponics often over-fertilizes without paying attention to varying nutrient needs across developmental stages.
  • In an experiment, modified nutrient solutions were applied to improve fruit quality and to optimize fertilization schemes.
  • The study demonstrated the benefits of precise N- and K-nutrient formulations applied at different developmental stages.

“The quality-oriented fruit production in well-controlled enclosed hydroponic systems has been greatly enhanced by the technology of precision agriculture.”

Read more: https://www.hortidaily.com/article/9224413/quality-improvement-of-melons-in-hydroponic-system/

A new guide called “Food that doesn’t cost the earth” by the LWARB’s Advance London team and the Sustainable Restaurant Association aims to reduce negative climate change. These tips outlined in the guide will help food establishments to affect their bottom line more efficiently. The 7 key areas in this guide can help any restaurant that is serious about tackling climate change by making small changes to their menu and business practices. The goal is to eliminate waste and create a circular economy.

Key Takeaways:

  • A new guide aims to help food producers adopt more sustainable practices.
  • The plan covers seven areas, and might also help businesses recover from future catastrophes like the current pandemic.
  • The guide was authored in collaboration with several chefs who support a greener food movement.

“Food production is globally one of the major contributors to damaging climate change emissions”

Read more: https://www.circularonline.co.uk/news/new-guide-to-running-sustainable-food-businesses/

The mayor of Jersey City announced a partnership with AeroFarms to develop the country’s first municipal vertical farming program. At 10 sites across the city, approximately 19,000 pounds of vegetables will be grown yearly. The program is part of a larger initiative by the World Economic Forum called Healthy City 2030. Jersey City is one of four cities participating globally; its selection is related to its status as a “food desert.” Residents will have access to free produce, but in return, they must attend healthy eating workshops and consent to regular health screenings.

Key Takeaways:

  • There will be 10 vertical farms throughout the city growing 19,000 pounds of vegetables yearly.
  • Jersey City is one of four cities worldwide participating in the program on behalf of the World Economic Forum.
  • Jersey City has been identified as a food desert with minimal access to supermarkets or large grocery stores.

“The public will get access to free fresh vegetables grown in Jersey City through the nation’s first municipal vertical farming program, according to an announcement by Mayor Steven Fulop.”

Read more: https://hudsonreporter.com/2020/06/10/growing-up/

Keeping the food that we grow safe as well as keeping the environment safe at the same time is a challenge. The more we use to grow the crops the more we are harming the environment. There are many bugs that have come to be because of climate change that we are trying to combat against. The bugs that are showing up now are some that have never been seen before, and we need to figure out a way to have fewer disturbances.

Key Takeaways:

  • Crop protection has come a long way since the book Silent Spring; today’s products are safer for human health and the environment.
  • Many of today’s crop protection products are obtained from natural sources and used to grow organic produce.
  • Enabling more food to be grown per unit of land reduces human encroachment into areas such as the Amazon rainforest.

“Dangers in the food supply can occur at any stage of the farm-to-fork process.”

Read more: https://www.syngenta.com/grow-it-safe-sound-agricultural-practices-ensure-safe-and-sustainable-food-supply