Right now, there are more than 7 billion people living on earth. That number continues to climb and is projected to be between 8 and 11 billion people by the year 2050. If you’re in the food sector, you’re probably already aware of the growing food needs of the earth’s population. The question then becomes, how do you do so? How can farmers and food scientists increase the world’s food supply in a way that feeds people but also protects the planet?
Fortunately, there are a myriad of ways farmers can increase their yield sizes, in a sustainable way. One way is to grow a larger mix of crops, instead of planting the same crops year after year. This tactic can increase overall production. Utilizing perennial plants, instead of annual crops, saves on planting costs. Since perennial plants are hardier, they are more likely to survive weather extremes. They might also use less water and help reduce soil erosion better than annual plants.
Organic farming uses natural pest control methods to help improve yields and overall soil health. Agroecology, another sustainable method, takes a holistic approach to growing crops — studying soil health, air quality and weather patterns to help make farming decisions.
The more conventional way of farming involves the use of pesticides and fertilizers, which can improve crop yields. Done for long periods, however, conventional methods might hurt the overall health of the soil and encourage the growth of pesticide-resistant weeds.
Vertical farming — or using indoor space to grow crops — is another way to produce more food, more efficiently. The accompanying resource describes the benefits of vertical farming and how to make the process more effective.