Some people believe that as the world population increases, so does the need for a change in agriculture.
Companies such as Indoor Farms of America and FodderWorks have been developing new technologies to allow people to be able to grow their own food and be able to provide feed for livestock throughout the year to better accommodate the increasing population.
One of these concepts, indoor farming, is a new type of farming that can be self-contained and put into indoor spaces.
“We're not making anymore land but seem to be making more people, and that’s the problem,” said Justin Akers, co-owner and manager of FodderWorks, during a lecture at Iowa State on Monday.
Indoor farming serves to benefit those living in urban environments who pay a lot of money for fresh produce. The use of indoor farming could be used in the basements of supermarkets in the future or even under the dining centers at Iowa State.
On each panel of the indoor farm Aeroponics Model 325, plants can be grown and easily transported to different locations. The FodderWorks model can be transported by trailer with stacks of wheat grass grown in a type of grow house installed in the trailers.
Both types of future farming also serve great economic benefits that can decrease the price that people actually pay for the food. Since both systems are easy to manage, fewer labor hours and resources can be used to produce the crops.
Most of the costs of the vegetables and fruits come from shipping costs, so decreasing the amount of transportation needed for the crops can also lower the pollution created by transporting and processing the crops.
“Depending on what indoor space you have, you can control the speed and growth of the crops,” Akers said.
The use of indoor farming and self-sustained fodder farming can be easily controlled to be able to grow during anytime of the year.
The main difference between a traditional farm and the indoor farm would be the seasonal changes. Because seasons won’t really matter for an indoor farm, they can grow crops that are not in season and supply grocery stores with a constant flow of fresh produce.
Akers noted that this is just the beginning of a new generation of farming that we will be exposed to.
This could be a great addition to large institutions like Iowa State to decrease carbon footprints, reduce spending and supply students with the freshest produce, he said.