Conventional farming has been an approach to producing food for centuries. This method of farming has sustained consumers for quite a while. However, with the increase in demand on farmers and climate issues, traditional farming is in danger of not being able to meet demand. In order for demand to be met, farmers have turned to unconventional approaches.
Unconventional methods, or sustainable methods of farming includes low pesticide use, working with the soil in the area, working with the climate, water availability, and technology. Unconventional farming approaches are numerous. These methods usually involve using resources native to the region where farming occurs. Many of the unconventional methods involve water and the farming of aquatic animals and plants already in that water as well as growing normal agricultural crops in water. Some of the unconventional methods include aquaculture, aquaponics, seawater farming, and hydroponics. Aquaculture and aquaponics include farming of fish and plants found in freshwater areas, avoiding overfishing and destroying resources. Seawater farming is the use of saltwater to grow agricultural crops, through evaporation and other techniques. Finally, hydroponics is an unconventional method that is growing in popularity, this method will be discussed further
One unconventional approach is hydroponics. According the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), hydroponics is when a farmer grows plants in water only. This method is ideal for use where soil is unacceptable for planting and growing. The advantages of hydroponics include no limitations on the types of crops that can be planted, water is recycled to aid in drought situations, higher crop yields, low amounts of labor, and low labor costs. Although hydroponics has numerous advantages, this practice includes disadvantages. These disadvantages include high costs of startup, increase of risk for salmonella, and must use clean water. As an unconventional approach, hydroponics has its disadvantages for farmers; however the advantages allow the farmer to increase yield and profit.
Conventional farming approaches include labor-intensive work in preparing the soil, planting the crops, and harvesting the yield. However, in current times conventional farming methods are struggling to meet demand. Unconventional farming methods, such as hydroponics, allow for crop yields to increase to meet demands, save natural resources, and allow farming in a variety of places where conventional farming was not possible.
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