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Vertical farming: A big leap towards sustainable farming

The vertical farming reduces the dependency and cost of skilled labourers, weather conditions, soil fertility or high water usage.Nearly 30% profitability can be obtained through this technique.

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vertical farming
Vertical Farming. Image source: Industrytap.com

What Is Vertical Farming?

Vertical farming is the technique of producing food in stacked layers or on vertically inclined surfaces which comprises of new automated farms. It requires less natural dependency and helps in reducing the dependency and cost of skilled labourers, weather conditions, soil fertility or high water usage.

What Vertical Farming Does?

  • Modern day vertical farming includes controlled environment agriculture technology i.e. CEA technology. All other environmental factors can be controlled using this technique. Techniques such as augmentation of sunlight by artificial lightning and by metal reflectors are also used for producing a similar greenhouse-like effect.
  • Vertical farms is a pesticide-free technique which requires much less input than traditional farming methods and gives much more output.
  • Farms embedded with this technique uses artificial lighting systems that facilitate enhanced photosynthesis. LEDs are placed near plants to impart specific wavelengths of lights for more photosynthesis. This enhances productivity.
  • Aeroponic mist’ is another technique used which helps in supplying the proper amount of oxygen and other soil nutrients. This makes the nature of growth more robust.

Advantages & Benefits of vertical farming techniques are as follows:

  • Vertical farming enables Reliable harvest. With it, the term ‘seasonal crops’ becomes obsolete. Irrespective of sunlight, pests or extreme temperature, these farms can easily meet the demand of contractors anytime.
  • Minimum overheads – Nearly 30% profitability can be obtained through this growing technique.
    • Low energy usage – Use of computerized LEDs by giving proper wavelength reduces energy to a great extent.
    • Low labour costs – Fully automated technique so no skilled labours are required.
    • Low water usage – Controlled transpiration technique are used. It requires only 10% of the water usage of traditional technique.
    • Reduced washing and processing – No pests control required. Reduces the cost of damage washing.
    • Reduced transportation costs – Can be established in any location. This reduces the cost of transportation and usage.
  • Increased growing area – Enables cost effective farming and provides nearly 8 times more productivity.
  • Maximum crop yield – Irrespective of other geographic factors Vertical Farming technique gives maximum yield.
  • A wide range of crops – Growth of crop are maintained by an intensive database which enables them to grow a wide range of crops such as Baby spinach, Baby rocket, Basil, Tatsoi, Leaf lettuce.
  • Fully integrated technology – All environmental factors are closely monitored and are maintained in an optimal range.
    • Optimum air quality
    • Optimum nutrient and mineral quality
    • Optimum water quality
    • Optimum light quality

All these technologies used leads to a dramatic shift in plant growth rates and their yields.

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Prepared by Pritam. Twitter handle @pritam_gogreen

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Amazon’s Exit Could Scare Off Tech Companies From New York

Critics complained about public subsidies that were offered to Amazon and chafed at some of the conditions of the deal.

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New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (2nd-L) speaks during a press conference in Gordon Triangle Park in the Queens borough of New York, following Amazon's announcement it would abandon its proposed headquarters for the area, Feb. 14, 2019. VOA

Amazon jilted New York City on Valentine’s Day, scrapping plans to build a massive headquarters campus in Queens amid fierce opposition from politicians angry about nearly $3 billion in tax breaks and the company’s anti-union stance.

With millions of jobs and a bustling economy, New York can withstand the blow, but experts say the decision by the e-commerce giant to walk away and take with it 25,000 promised jobs could scare off other companies considering moving to or expanding in the city, which wants to be seen as the Silicon Valley of the East Coast.

“One of the real risks here is the message we send to companies that want to come to New York and expand to New York,” said Julie Samuels, the executive director of industry group Tech: NYC. “We’re really playing with fire right now.”

In November, Amazon selected New York City and Crystal City, Virginia, as the winners of a secretive, yearlong process in which more than 230 North American cities bid to become the home of the Seattle-based company’s second headquarters.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo heralded the city’s selection at the time as the biggest boon yet to its burgeoning tech economy and underscored that the deal would generate billions of dollars for improving transit, schools and housing.

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Amazon said in a statement Thursday its commitment to New York City required “positive, collaborative relationships” with state and local officials. Pixabay

Opposition came swiftly though, as details started to emerge.

Critics complained about public subsidies that were offered to Amazon and chafed at some of the conditions of the deal, such as the company’s demand for access to a helipad. Some pleaded for the deal to be renegotiated or scrapped altogether.

“We knew this was going south from the moment it was announced,” said Thomas Stringer, a site selection adviser for big companies. “If this was done right, all the elected officials would have been out there touting how great it was. When you didn’t see that happen, you knew something was wrong.”

Stringer, a managing director of the consulting firm BDO USA LLP, said city and state officials need to rethink the secrecy with which they approached the negotiations. Community leaders and potential critics were kept in the dark, only to be blindsided when details became public.

“It’s time to hit the reset button and say, “What did we do wrong?”‘ Stringer said. “This is fumbling at the 1-yard line.”

Amazon said in a statement Thursday its commitment to New York City required “positive, collaborative relationships” with state and local officials and that a number of them had “made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward.”

Not that Amazon is blameless, experts say.

Joe Parilla, a fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, said the company’s high-profile bidding process may have stoked the backlash. Companies usually search for new locations quietly, in part to avoid the kind of opposition Amazon received.

“They had this huge competition, and the media covered it really aggressively, and a bunch of cities responded,” Parilla said. “What did you expect? It gave the opposition a much bigger platform.”

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Other tech companies have been keeping New York City’s tech economy churning without making much of a fuss. Pixabay

Richard Florida, an urban studies professor and critic of Amazon’s initial search process, said the company should have expected to feel the heat when it selected New York, a city known for its neighborhood activism.

“At the end of the day, this is going to hurt Amazon,” said Florida, head of the University of Toronto’s Martin Prosperity Institute. “This is going to embolden people who don’t like corporate welfare across the country.”

Other tech companies have been keeping New York City’s tech economy churning without making much of a fuss.

Google is spending $2.4 billion to build up its Manhattan campus. Cloud-computing company Salesforce has plastered its name on Verizon’s former headquarters in midtown, and music streaming service Spotify is gobbling up space at the World Trade Center complex.

Despite higher costs, New York City remains attractive to tech companies because of its vast, diverse talent pool, world-class educational and cultural institutions and access to other industries, such as Wall Street capital and Madison Avenue ad dollars.

No other metropolitan area in the U.S. has as many computer-related jobs as New York City, which has 225,600, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Washington, Boston, Atlanta and Dallas each have a greater concentration of their workers in tech.

In the New York area, the average computer-related job pays roughly $104,000 a year, about $15,000 above the national average. Still, that’s about $20,000 less than in San Francisco.

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Even after cancelling its headquarters project, Amazon still has 5,000 employees in New York City, not counting Whole Foods.

“New York has actually done a really great job of growing and supporting its tech ecosystem, and I’m confident that will continue,” Samuels said. “Today we took a step back, but I would not put the nail in the coffin of tech in New York City.” (VOA)