MICRO FARMING: A FARM TO PLATE APPROACH TO FOOD SUFFICIENCY - CALIPHATE MEDIA

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Wednesday, 25 October 2017

MICRO FARMING: A FARM TO PLATE APPROACH TO FOOD SUFFICIENCY


                               25 October, 2017
The notion of growing your own food represent a paradigm shift in how most modern day urbanites perceived the food supply chain. You don’t necessarily need acres of land to own cultivate food crops and such problems have been mitigated by innovations in micro-farming techniques.

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Micro-farming in this context refers to growing enough food to take care of a portion or even all of a household food needs. This can be done in vessels as ridicously small as tea cups or spaces as seemingly inconsequential as the size of a door.
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Whether you live in a high rise building in the heart of the city or on sprawling acres out in the countryside, you can adopt a “farm to plate” lifestyle. The concept, in its purest form can be summarized as fresher, nutrients-packed and vegetable grown close to where they are going to be eaten, ideally consumed within seven days of being harvested. No long distance haulage across or within cities, no genetic modification, no industrial pesticides, no artificial ripening and no mould.

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        Furthermore, you can now farm without soil, or on the side of a building or on a flat roof top or even inside a shipping container. These innovations are propelling the growing movement to localized food production, making it more realistic for individuals or communities to grow their own food near where it will be consumed, even in highly populated area/cities.
This is significant because localized production means you are eating fresher fruits and vegetables. You get the most nutritional value from your fruits or vegetables if you eat it as soon as possible after it has been harvested. The inherent nutritional value of produce decreases the longer it is kept, therefore the shorter the distance and time it takes to get to the consumer the better.

       Innovation such as HYDROPONICS which involves the growing of the crops in specialized water rather than soil and its currently used in growing of lettuce, kale and other green in shipping containers. This techno-science method of fresh food generation will eventually become part of our lives. 
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This containers can be stacked as high as is practicable, thereby increasing the yield from the same size of land.
Furthermore, because the seedlings are exposed to constant light 24 hours a day, there are multiple harvest a year. It’s potential in solving food security/sufficiency issues cannot be over emphasized .This form farming vertical is being practiced commercially in Japan, USA, Oman, UAE and Hong Kong .As the technology improves, mini versions for small communities  or even residential estates and households will emerge.
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AEROCULTURE which is a soil-less way for growing plant, this is done by misting suspended plant roots at specific intervals . The process may be too intricate for mass food producers but it could work for micro-farmers with plenty of time on their hand and little alternative.
Those who prefer to stick with traditional geoculture and want a less technical approach to starting a mini farm can use seed sheets. These are pre-packaged specialized fabrics with the seeds of the fruits or vegetables of your choice neatly embedded and optimally spaced out. The farmer pulls out the seeds sheet from its bag, placed in soil near light outdoors or indoors on the ground or in an appropriately-sized container, then you tend it as necessary.

Urban homesteading, turning your balcony or garden into a “growing food area” reduces your dependence on your salary albeit marginally. Furthermore, edible gardening like its floral counterpart is therapeutic. The sense of fulfillment attained from knowing you have developed a measure of agronomic self-sufficiency can be deeply satisfying.
Water melon, afang, lettuce, water leaf, pumpkin, curry, cucumber, chili, bell peppers, basil, pineapple, tomatoes, spring onions, mint, parsley, oregano and thyme are some of the vegetables or herbs that can be grown in around your dwelling. It takes time and attention to detail but it can be done.

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