Land has already become limited and soil fertility, in some places, like the developing and poor nations, is gone. The biggest challenge now is that increasing mouths need to be feed from very limited agricultural land available. Does that not call for promotion of landless food production, e.g. on the flood plains, on the mountain tops and even on the roof tops of one's' own home?
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it is published by Juniper
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I think that will partially help for solving this problem.
@ Patrick, yes partially you can made it through hydroponics, aeroponics and aquaponics. For example, hydroponics now very successful in India specially Punjab and Bangalore farmers are successfully using hydroponics . Lettuce, Spinach, Strawberries, Bell Peppers. and herbs effectively can be grown under it. Under aquaponics you can raise the fishes also beside growing plants. More research is going on to introduce most of the crops under these systems.
Food production without soil in some cases it is possible to grow vegetables, fruits by giving liquid fertilizers, Macro- & Micro-nutrients, plant growth regulators(Auxins) through water.
@ Patrick - its possible to certain extent and I do agree withe the answer given by J. C. Tarafdar
In my opinion, it's just an alternative, that has to overcome some limitations or constrains. First, not all food crops could be adapted to this system as it's known nowadays. Second, it's necessary to consider what'lI happend with all those small farmers, which produce "marginal" goods to survive.
Food production without soil is not the solution but only part of the solution. The so-called vertical agriculture is an excellent system to produce vegetables, for example, in the suburbs of large cities.
@Patrick Landless food production has already begun, and has been supplementing the need of food through hydroponics, aeroponics, etc. The introduction of new crop such as pigeonpea has already occurred in the hill regions of Uttarakhand, India and of China. Vegetables on the roof tops of one's own home are being grown in urban areas. However, the biggest challenge is to maintain the quality of food produced from such landless culture.
Yes partly plus other measures including controlled population growth and adoption of family planning
It is partly but requires a high capital and maintenance cost hence its sustainability is questionable
Food production without soil as answered above by others is an option only, very costly one, which can never replace food production in soils. very good idea in big cities though to do small kitchen gardening for fresh herbs etc. where land is not available.
Yes, it's possible
Patrick S. Michael < the roof tops of one's' own home? >
People are developing 'vertical farming' or roof-top farming (photo #1) these days for this purpose. See a short film at link below titled " The Farm of the Future-Uses No Soil and 95% Less Water. " about vertical farming.
@Yuan, very much interesting and challenging at the same time. We have already landed on the moon so there is no reason why we should not farm vertically.
Yes, it can meet a part of the Food Basket, but cannot be a full substitute.
I hold the view that this can be implemented along with the current practice where soil is still a key component in growing crops. It is also important to note that soil fertility challenges are also contextual - depends on a particular setting!
Patrick S. Michael
Dear Dr. Michael,
This is a very interesting question and a good topic for discussion too. I have often heard arguments in favor of soil-less culture from my university colleagues who are into hydroponics. Without a doubt, soil-less crop production can contribute some percentage of the food requirement (especially vegetables) of a community for example in urban areas, but this would not supply the staples (wheat, rice, corn, potato, cassava, sweetpotato, banana, etc) of the millions of people in a big city or an entire country. We should also factor in the cost of chemicals, water requirements, waste disposal, pollution effect, etc. when many households practice it in a given city or place. In my view, it will not be the solution but will be part of the solution. Thanks for raising the question.
Victor B. Asio That's perfectly explained. I can't agree more!
There is a developing technology in regards with SOILESS food production here in the Philippines.
Patrick S. Michael
Plant breeding to improve crop production performance is till the main force to fight hunger in the future (even we don't have a lot of lands). There are still a large room for improvement of crop production. This includes to breed crop varieties resistance to stress or tolerance to diseases...etc. Attached is a chart about crop production and land use. It shows crop production increase while land use did not increase dramatically.
From the chart:
( https://ourworldindata.org/yields-vs-land-use-how-has-the-world-produced-enough-food-for-a-growing-population )
Yuan, means we have excess food today than required to feed everyone?
Here is a paper describing a large scale vertical farming (VF) study using 27-floor building. They gave the info of the cost and yearly harvest (VF vs. land farming comparison). Pretty good paper (1). < click the attachment to see the whole chart>
(1) Article Up, Up and Away! The Economics of Vertical Farming
Vimal Kumar Semwal No. Especially at some regions. Don't forget, when yield increase, population also increase. So, how to meet future need for food with limited cultivated lands is of great challenging. The chart just to show you that the increase of crop yield not necessary from expand land use, rather through the improvement of crop yield using conventional and modem plant breeding technologies.
Amy Johnson< soon there will be cultured meat products ...>
They are trying to use stem cells to do lab-grown meat (focus on muscle). I don't know what the taste of this kind of meat. Because normal meat also contain fat (fat cells), ....and such. When I think of this kind of meat, I lost my appetite....
**Now, they are growing 'cell-based' seafood, such as fish. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jennysplitter/2020/07/16/new-consumer-research-cell-based-fish/#74fdb0bf584d
Yes, up to some extent, it will contribute significantly to address the problem.
It is part of the solution to provide sustainable food security. The future need will be driven by the constraints in the specific location, region and the nutritional need. So soil less farming is one tool to deal with proximity, and creating suitable niche environment to grow a cost effective food supply.
So much as this looks like a solution, it is very much possible only to horticultural crops (those grown on small scale to be specific). Staple foods like cereals and tubers is gonna be a challenge economicall as the hydroponics for example need administering of chemicals to and probably close monitoring
The hard to grow crops in a soilless medium, maybe subjected to nutrient culture to be administered. Thought for thought!
The other means of soil less production system could play role as additive component, however ever increasing population could not be fed solely with these systems.
Amit, yes additives and cell cultures might be the way forward. Man's more wonders.
I think that will partially help for solving this problem.
Every Science have its own pros and cons. If before getting into the real platform, we will only focus on the side impact, then it will be a bad approach towards a new technology. We should be more engaged in the development of the soilless farming system, nutrient solution, crop & area specific models and many more. It is the need of the hour as currently the spatial land distribution is the greatest challenge for the conventional farming. The low cost Technology can be a great option and motivator for the farming and scientific community.
I think no. The problem of population nutrition is complex, not only agricultural solutions, but also political, economic, social, etc., etc. Even within the agricultural sector I think it should be seen in many directions, with scientific research and findings on agricultural systems, organization and marketing of products, with practices of plant and animal production, new breeds and varieties, control of diseases and pests, fertilization of plants and animal feed, etc. One solution is to produce food without soil.
Yes, very complex an issue. Therefore, will continue to be a mystery.
It maybe for short interval of time, but we need to find a better way.
In my opinion, it is an additional source of food, no general solution. Due to technical and economical issues production of food without soil cannot solve the problem nowadays globally, Production of food without soil can be used for specific cases as mentioned in some answers above or for example for the production of strawberries in Malaysia as an example.
That´s why the answer to the given question is NOT.