Indoor Farming: Grow Sustainable, Organic Foods Year-round with ROOT
As the world’s population continues to grow, while more and more people are moving to large cities, society must continue to evolve the way we grow our food as sustainably as possible with limiting the effects it has on the environments we all share. Indoor farming at a consumer and large commercial level continues to grow in adoption and practice in order meet the growing demand for healthier organic foods that are not soaked in pesticides and other potentially deadly other chemicals.
I’m extremely fortunate. I live in the San Francisco East Bay Area and as I take my daughters to horseback riding lessons every Saturday, we pass by countless orchards and fruit stands. We pick up fresh corn, sweet strawberries and countless varieties of squash begging to be sauteed with a little bit of butter. However, while I thought I was feeding my family healthy fruits and vegetables, I realized that nowhere on the signage was there the word “organic.” Worse yet, one morning I saw a tractor that had four plastic-like barrels attached to the back equipped with sprayers that were showering pesticides on the plants. We all know that most of our fruits, vegetables and herbs are treated with these chemicals, but seeing it in action really got me to thinking about experimenting with indoor farming of my own.
The Importance of Buying and Growing Organic Produce
The biggest downside to buying organic fruits and vegetables is the expense. However, the cost is so much higher if you don’t. Here’s why:
The Problem with Chemical Fertilizers
Organic fertilizers are often made from compost or manure. Chemical fertilizers are comprised of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (usually the fertilizer bags will list them as N-P-K, respectively). “To create most nitrogen chemical fertilizers, anhydrous ammonium is first synthetically manufactured by reacting N2 and H2 using the Haber-Bosch technology, which requires extreme heat and pressure. Anhydrous ammonium is 82 percent nitrogen and must be used with extreme care, as it can damage eyes, skin and lungs,” explains Rachel Delp in the San Francisco Gate. (If you can’t even touch it, why are we eating it?)
Now while nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium sound like naturally found and produced elements, they are quite dangerous when used as fertilizer. Julie Day of Today’s Homeowner warns: “Repeated applications may result in a toxic buildup of chemicals such as arsenic, cadmium, and uranium in the soil. These toxic chemicals can eventually make their way into your fruits and vegetables.”
Chemical fertilizers can also hurt the environment. They don’t sustain the soil like organic compostable materials but deplete the soil of essential trace elements. Over fertilization or long term use can kill plants, destroy the naturally occurring ecosystem, create an imbalance in the pH levels and increase greenhouse gasses. The once healthy soil can become a virtual wasteland.
The Danger of Chemical Pesticides
Chemical pesticides are essentially poison, so of course they have a multitude of negative effects on the human body and the environment. Chemical pesticides can leach into underground water sources, be blown miles away and contaminate other crops and harm local animals. In fact, pesticides have been linked to the decrease in the honey bee population and wild animals have been found with tumors due to pesticide exposure. The impact on the human body is incredibly scary when you consider that studies have shown that pesticides can cause various cancers and can hinder the development of fetuses in the womb.
GMO Altered Foods
So the fertilizers are dangerous in which we grow our food, the pesticides are dangerous and that’s what we put on our food, but equally important is the genetically altered food itself that we eat. “ Animal studies [have shown] organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated aging, and infertility,” informs Jeffrey Smith of The Institute for Responsible Technology. “Human studies show how genetically modified (GM) food can leave material behind inside us, possibly causing long-term problems. Genes inserted into GM soy, for example, can transfer into the DNA of bacteria living inside us, and that the toxic insecticide produced by GM corn was found in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn fetuses.”
Moreover, no one knows what the long term effects of these GMO products will be. It seems similar to World War II when the U.S. dropped nuclear bombs on Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We knew that this was a quick answer to the problem of war, but no one could have estimated the decades worth of damage and harm that would be accumulated. With genetically altered foods, it provides a somewhat easy answer to increasing production levels and eliminating expensive problems (such as weed growth), but are we only solving natural problems to create even bigger ones?
The Benefits of Indoor Farming
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t eat only organic foods nor do I produce my own kombucha in the backyard. (Confession time: I’m drinking my weekly Pepsi right now.) I’m a busy working mom and I don’t have the time to grow a garden in my backyard or peruse farmer’s markets every weekend. I’ve chosen to live my life in moderation; I’ll eat a steak on special occasions, grab a cupcake at a birthday party, and yes, guzzle a soda once a week. But I also pick up the organic produce at Trader Joe’s, use baking soda and vinegar as my household cleaner and we eat only two meals out per week so I can better control what my family consumes (not to mention it saves a lot of money).
My favorite cost-saving, healthy-eating tip is my indoor garden. I love having plants in my home and I can just pick what I need when I need it. I’ve tried growing plants in pots (I even have three dead succulents on my side table right now), but my sure-fire solution is my amazing indoor farming solution, which is a ROOT hydroponic garden system. I wish I had a green thumb, but I don’t have the time or talent and with ROOT, I don’t need either. ROOT uses only non-GMO seeds and high quality organic plant food so you don’t have to worry about harmful pesticides and fertilizers. The smart garden system has industrial grade, full-spectrum LED grow lights and connects to a smartphone app so anyone can grow herbs and vegetables in any climate, during any season. This useful indoor farm is sustainable gardening at its best with little to no effort from me (which I love!).
Life is hard and it can be so difficult to protect your family from all the hazards that this world presents. The best we can do is the best we can do. Just practical decisions each day like choosing organic options if available, avoiding fast food, eating bad foods in moderation and starting your own indoor farming operation with a smart gardening system is easy to do but can also make a big impact on your family, your budget and the environment.
As populations grow and society continues to evolve, so must the way humans evolve the way we sustainably grow food to nourish ourselves. From commercial indoor farming operations using hydroponics and/or aeroponic systems to sustainably grow and supply larger populations with more nutrient-rich foods that are void of pesticides and harmful chemicals to indoor farming for the everyday consumer that may live in a dense urban environment that wishes to grow their own organic foods sustainably, it’s getting easier than ever to grow your own indoor farm with a smart garden system like ROOT.
We at ROOT hope you’ll consider growing your indoor farm with our indoor garden system, where you can have your very own fresh organic foods on-demand year-round – from countertop to table.