Is more hydroponics needed for feeding humans?:

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26 MajorTom1st Jan 2012 06:36:48 AM , Relationship Status: Barbecuing
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They want it now, cheap, and as good as it can get.

When it comes to hydroponics, that's a "choose two" sort of situation. You cannot get all three with it.
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27 Carciofus1st Jan 2012 06:50:22 AM from Alpha Tucanae I
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For the moment, hydroponics is a promising research field, but it's still too expensive for widespread adoption.

Things might change very quickly, though.
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28 Deboss1st Jan 2012 02:21:06 PM from Awesomeville Texas
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Well, Tom does bring up an interesting point. If the chemical reaction in the food product you want is caused by low water conditions, I don't think you can duplicate that with hydroponics. Unless there's some other fluid you can A) suspend nutrients in B) is non water based C) has no reaction with plant biology. Hyrdoponics is essentially like a green house where you exchange your direct control of water and moisture for nutrient control.
30 Zersk1st Jan 2012 06:37:42 PM from Columbia District, BNA
Tom, I don't think that hydroponics would replace regular farming, though. It is a way, though, to produce food more efficiently. There'll still be the regular farming, of course, but the hydroponics is there to help it out, sort of thing.
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31 Inhopelessguy1st Jan 2012 06:46:14 PM from Birmingham Ctl, UK , Relationship Status: Wanna dance with somebody
Like a supplement to conventional agriculture?

Also, apparently, there's a lot of online stores that sell hydroponics stuff.

I can't seem to find any Office for National Statistics data on hydroponics and EUROSTAT wants me to pay for agricultural data.


32 MajorTom1st Jan 2012 06:49:22 PM , Relationship Status: Barbecuing
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It is a way, though, to produce food more efficiently.

Ok correct me if I'm wrong but how do you get more efficient than plant seeds, bury them, keep them irrigated and growing for approximately 30-150 days depending on plant and then harvest? That's all there is to farming.

The only factor hydroponics truly removes is insect exposure. Even then that's not a highly toutable advantage especially since it trades nutrition and taste for that. Worse, get one contaminated vat of crops and it's likely the entire lab is contaminated with something.
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33 Blurring1st Jan 2012 07:52:53 PM from that adjacent area right over there.
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  • Hydroponic allows for closer planting of crops. This results in higher productivity in a given area.
  • Hydroponic saves water because less water will be lost through evaporation from the soil or by leaching out below the root zone.
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We have the tools already for efficient farming. The problem is distribution, which won't be solved until we can get people to stop fighting and actually fairly distribute the food in question. We don't really need hydroponics.

In fact, I can see this having a negative social consequence of a) putting many, many farmers out of business and b) bullying those same farmers off their homes to make way for the spread of urbanization. We don't need to be spreading out more and paving over nature. This is, of course, once we develop technology to the point where this would be reliable and cost effective in the first place.

But seriously, if we're paying farmers not to produce then the amount of food is not the problem we have.
35 Zersk1st Jan 2012 10:11:37 PM from Columbia District, BNA
^^ Plus, there's vertical farming, so you can have multiple floors of it, so you can produce more plants in a given area.
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Well, rather, "there will be vertical farming". So far, it's all either not technically or not economically feasible. That's the main point: Hydroponics might be the best thing since sliced bread - but it is not yet economically feasible. It still requires more development for mass use. So calling for it now makes IMO little sense.
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37 Zersk1st Jan 2012 10:53:53 PM from Columbia District, BNA
It isn't? :o Well, I was imagining something as just a multi-level thing. :/ Is that not possible?
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Not at our current technology level. Although, given steppe style farming, we can probably do it to some extent without hydroponics. Like, small scale on top of houses? Something to think about.
39 Deboss1st Jan 2012 11:10:06 PM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
Well, vertical farming is definitely a plus, provided you have the energy to feed the plants. Part of the advantage of old school farming is that it comes with sunlight. Of course if you're a nature fan, you should be promoting this stuff and tunneling downward into the earth since we can abuse floor space rules.
40 pvtnum112nd Jan 2012 10:54:46 AM from Kerbin low orbit , Relationship Status: We finish each other's sandwiches
Since we're paying farmers to not farm, we have spare capacity for the time being. When we're running the spare farms at full-tilt (basically, at the limits of our production capacity), then we can worry about vertical farming and other methods. But until then, more advanced methods will be superfluous and high-cost.
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And I don't mind paying farmers not to farm if it means guaranteeing long-term productive lands for future population.
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