Updated: Oct 11, 2019
The majority of population is now inclining towards healthy habits and so is concerned with what they consume and what the actual components of the food are. To meet the demands, growers have been practicing all healthy farming methods.
Organic farming has gained immense popularity over the past few years and is often compared to Hydroponics to determine which one is more healthy form of agriculture. Hydroponic and organic farming offer fresh vegetables and chemical free crops. Both farming techniques follow the philosophy of the importance of nutritional value and safe foods.
Hydroponics is a process of growing plants in nutrient packed water solution without soil. The growing conditions are controlled for an optimum plant growth. If outdoor space is limited, it offers a workable alternative. A hydroponic set up requires nutrient solution, reservoir, growing lamps, substrates, a filtration system for both the water and the air and a means of climate control. It has few limitations, as a large scale setup requires high investments, needs continuous supervision and commercially not feasible to grow staple foods.
Still, there are many advantages of hydroponics over traditional soil farming, like fast plant growth rate, high yield with round the year production, occupies less space, less water consumption and keeps the environment healthy as there is no use of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. Hydroponics has many advantages, which makes it a boon in the field of agriculture and becoming a popular choice among growers.
Organic hydroponics farming is a method which promotes land cultivation and aims raising crops in such a way, as to keep the soil alive and in good vigor. It utilizes organic wastes, such as crop, animal and farm wastes, aquatic wastes, and other biological materials along with beneficial bio-fertilizers, to release nutrients to crops for increased sustainable production in an eco friendly pollution free environment. It avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetic inputs, such as fertilizers, pesticides, etc and largely depends upon crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, off-farm organic waste, mineral grade rock additives and biological system of nutrient mobilization and plant protection. Thus, the crops are high in nutrient value, free of chemicals.
Soil takes time to regain its nutritional value from organic fertilizers as compare to chemical fertilizers. Yields are low as compared to other farming approaches .Also, the nutrient content in organic manure is not uniform, and it changes as per the material used as compared to chemical fertilizer.
Still, due to high market demand, an organic farm produce fetches much higher price than the regular variety.
Both hydroponic and organic vegetables offer nutritious, delicious ways to enjoy fresh produce. The research proves that nutritional value is subject to farming practices whether done with soil or without. In traditional soil farming, organic plants may open to pests and in hydroponic system if the nutrient solution is not balanced then can give rise to bacterial or algae growth, which further impacts yield and nutritional value.
The focus must be on to address serious problems like soil vitality, water scarcity, negative impacts of fertilizers and pesticides, food deserts, food waste and falling nutritional density. Both soil-based organic and controlled environment agriculture techniques like hydroponic, are necessary, and they each solve different problems, in different proportions, as they relate to energy, resource intensity and quality problems