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Is more hydroponics needed for feeding humans?:

 1 Inhopelessguy, Thu, 29th Dec '11 10:44:12 PM from Birmingham, Greater Europe Relationship Status: Less than three
Psych Lad
Born from this:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=13250993160A90140100&page=5#103

Basically, hydroponics is akin to factory-farming, BUT FOR CROPS!

This discussion is to see whether it is a viable way of feeding a growing population, and if modern agriculture is good enough as well.

Its difficult to explain it. But why use words when I can touch you and make you feel it...?

Well it's "viable" in a technical sense but it's more economic right now to do conventional machine intensive farming and/or organic farming. Hydroponics seems costly for no particularly good reason.

 3 Deboss, Thu, 29th Dec '11 11:03:07 PM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
Well, a quick skimming of the other wikis article shows that it's economically viable in areas with poor water supply, fertility, or transportation issues. It seems to be easier to control, but there's no buffer, so one fuck up and the entire canister dies. But it's at a higher level of resistance to such things.
 4 Zersk, Thu, 29th Dec '11 11:04:08 PM from Columbia District, BNA
o-o
I remember a thing that said about using ony red and blue LED lights would save money, since those are the only colours the plants would really use. Does that make any sense, and would it lower the cost? Also, everything was underground, so it was out of the way.
ᐅᖃᐅᓯᖅ ᐊᑕᐅᓯᖅ ᓈᒻᒪᔪᐃᑦᑐᖅ
 5 Deboss, Thu, 29th Dec '11 11:07:46 PM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
My reaction to that would be "it would depend on the plant, and I am not a biologist".
 6 Wulf, Fri, 30th Dec '11 3:22:23 AM from Louisiana
Gotta trope, dood!
If I remember elementary school science fairs correctly* , yes, it makes sense. Something to do with the way light works and chlorophyll being green, IIRC.
They lost me. Forgot me. Made you from parts of me. If you're the One, my father's son, what am I supposed to be?
 7 Major Tom, Fri, 30th Dec '11 5:31:51 AM Relationship Status: Barbecuing
Eye'm the cutest!
@OP:

No. You want to know why hydroponic food is a bad idea? Compared to traditional farming, hydroponics have terrible nutritional value and worse terrible taste. That kinda defeats the purpose of farming in the first place. If your "farm fresh" produce is whupped in the nutrition department by some forms of junk food then you got a problem.

Seriously, the worst soils for farming make better produce than hydroponic stuff grown entirely on water and Miracle-Gro.
Endless Conflict: Every war ends in time, even supposedly this one.
One presumes that the hydroponics facility would ensure high quality of food, otherwise it is pointless.

 9 pvtnum 11, Fri, 30th Dec '11 11:37:35 AM from Kerbin low orbit Relationship Status: We finish each other's sandwiches
linkup
I'd think that hydroponics would be used for stuff like algae and things. Stuff tastes terrible anyway, right?

I would imagine that sea-farming would be easier. Grow kelp and use that as ingredients for stuff.
Happiness is zero-gee with a sinus cold.
Well anything we do is going to harm the environment (the sea isn't empty so farming there is likely to displace the ecosystem as well). The only place where we won't harm earth's ecosystem much is farming in space and have the food rain down on us on super space grain elevators.

Hydroponics would probably only be useful once we start reaching massive overpopulation. As it stands, conventional farming works just fine.

 11 Aceof Spades, Fri, 30th Dec '11 11:46:42 AM from The Wild Blue Yonder Relationship Status: I wanna know about these strangers like me
My doubts about this is that I don't think our technology is at the point where we can grow enough through this method to actually feed people. And it would also require a crap load of actually building hydroponic farms, which takes time and resources we could be spending on other things. I'd prefer to save the hydroponics for the space station colonies and promote more responsible farming methods down here on Earth.
hydrophonics
Good band name.

Also: hydroponics are useful, as there's no soil needed; water can be reused (and thus has lower costs); nutritional content can be controlled (and thus has lower costs); no nutrition pollution; no pesticide damage; stable (and high) yields; easier to harvest; pests are easier to remove. However, pathogens can spread through a facility very quickly, and any failure of the hydroponic system can ruin a harvest. It also requires a lot of energy to keep it running.

There's obviously also no degradation of the soil caused by repeatedly farming the same items, as was touched on in the other thread.
 
 13 Major Tom, Fri, 30th Dec '11 6:24:21 PM Relationship Status: Barbecuing
Eye'm the cutest!
There's obviously also no degradation of the soil caused by repeatedly farming the same items

This is fixed by rotating fields which many farmers do. Hell the thousands of years old Bible tells you to rotate your fields every so often.

In a 4 field system, use 3 and let the last one remain fallow for a year. Rotate over the winter with a new field lying fallow.

You can practically perpetuate farmland indefinitely with crop/field rotation.
Endless Conflict: Every war ends in time, even supposedly this one.
Well my only concern here is cost and business arrangement. If food of equal nutritional and taste value can be obtained at lesser combined cost (environmental and financial cost), then I'm all for it. Otherwise, a whackload of conventional farming is what I'm going to stick with. I also prefer small business farming compared to large corporate farming (because I want the profits from farming to be more fairly distributed).

Besides, right now, if we went around to all the developing countries and turned their base-level farming to international-standard organic farming, it would significantly increase current yields, treat the environment better and get them higher wages.

edited 30th Dec '11 7:39:04 PM by breadloaf

 15 Radical Taoist, Fri, 30th Dec '11 7:53:12 PM from the #GUniverse
scratching at .8, just hopin'
In addition to crop/field rotation, there is the technique of growing different crops in the same field in alternating rows or other patterns, which can stop many species of parasites cold. Really, if we exchange factory farming for more sustainable farming methods and introduce large-scale urban agriculture projects, we should be good. Ditto wasting less food in North America.

Our food issues stem from distribution problems, not production. If we can make hydroponics economically and nutritionally viable, that's awesome, but I'm not so sure it'll be necessary.

@ Major Tom: Do you know of any studies that back you up on the poorer quality of hydroponic grown produce? I honestly have no idea about this stuff.

edited 30th Dec '11 7:53:29 PM by RadicalTaoist

 16 Major Tom, Fri, 30th Dec '11 8:29:23 PM Relationship Status: Barbecuing
Eye'm the cutest!
I do know all about hydroponics from other sources. One guy I know knows how they work because he used to grow marijuana in one. (And yes he was doing it as a criminal outfit before he gave it up.) You get poor quality of most anything in a pure hydroponic build. Elaborating further, unless you are trying to filter out various chemicals in the plant (like for marijuana you want some of the toxins to be diminished) hydroponics is at best just a starter set for plants owing to the lack of soil nutrients and Sunlight.

Secondly there's other things to account for. In Colorado with traditional farming there's the effect of the hot dry summers (with monsoon rains) sweetening the cantaloupe and watermelon crops along the Arkansas River making them very tasty and very nutritious. That effect is impossible to replicate in hydroponics because it is a combination of hot weather and the local soil working in tandem.
Endless Conflict: Every war ends in time, even supposedly this one.
Oh, you can do anything you want in a hydroponics lab if you wanted to mimic any environment. The problem is cost.

 18 Inhopelessguy, Sat, 31st Dec '11 6:40:09 PM from Birmingham, Greater Europe Relationship Status: Less than three
Psych Lad
Well, I'm not sure about other countries, but The EU gives a huge amount of money in farming subsidiaries (mostly to recompensate European farmers who get shafted by superstores).

If that money could be invested in say, hydroponic systems, I'm sure it could pay itself off through efficiency savings and whatnot.

Its difficult to explain it. But why use words when I can touch you and make you feel it...?

 19 Octo, Sat, 31st Dec '11 6:46:10 PM from Germany
Prince of Dorne
Uh, I think you don't understand the system. Most subsidaries are paid for not producing anything, to keep agrarian output low, so that the prices remain stable. We already have overproduction anyway. We really don't need hydroponics.
Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken.

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 20 Inhopelessguy, Sat, 31st Dec '11 6:49:10 PM from Birmingham, Greater Europe Relationship Status: Less than three
Psych Lad
Oh, well, here, that EU subisidary is used to recompensate British farmers who get shafted by the superstores that extort the hell out of them.

edited 31st Dec '11 6:49:20 PM by Inhopelessguy

Its difficult to explain it. But why use words when I can touch you and make you feel it...?

 21 Major Tom, Sat, 31st Dec '11 6:50:16 PM Relationship Status: Barbecuing
Eye'm the cutest!
Oh, you can do anything you want in a hydroponics lab if you wanted to mimic any environment.

Oh you wish. There are many many places for farming that are all unique and can't be replicated in a hydroponics lab.

The Arkansas River valley of Colorado where the Rocky Ford cantaloupes are grown is one such place. Try as you might you will never replicate the soil, sunlight, heat, humidity and seasonal variation in a lab.
Endless Conflict: Every war ends in time, even supposedly this one.
 22 Inhopelessguy, Sat, 31st Dec '11 6:53:27 PM from Birmingham, Greater Europe Relationship Status: Less than three
Psych Lad
Tom, at the end of the day, most consumers aren't concerned at all about how their food is grown. They want it now, cheap, and as good as it can get. Hydroponics can do that.

At least, my Biology textbook said so.

Its difficult to explain it. But why use words when I can touch you and make you feel it...?

 23 Octo, Sat, 31st Dec '11 6:54:48 PM from Germany
Prince of Dorne
[up][up]Yes and no. It's true, you probably couldn't perfectly imitate any already existing setting, but then, why would you? Instead you can engineer hundreds of setting you'll find nowhere in nature. That hydroponics could do.

The problem is indeed the costs. It would be ridiculously expensive.

edited 31st Dec '11 6:55:00 PM by Octo

Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken.

Unrelated ME1 Fanfic
 24 Inhopelessguy, Sat, 31st Dec '11 6:57:52 PM from Birmingham, Greater Europe Relationship Status: Less than three
Psych Lad
The costs are extraordinary.

It's very expensive, but it pays off in efficiency savings over time, and the costs of labour are reduced as well.

Its difficult to explain it. But why use words when I can touch you and make you feel it...?

I thought the EU worked on farming subsidies rather than production quotas like does North America. Or am I mistaken?

You know the discussion would be a lot easier if someone could come up with cost numbers for hydroponics, land usage, environmental impact and so on.

Total posts: 42
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