Indoor and Urban Blight Farming:
A New Trend among Preppers
Many independent and entrepreneurial minded people are not waiting for food inflation to blow out of control and overtake them. Some have taken matters into their own hands and discovered how to profit from an emerging prepping skill – indoor farming.
Growing your own food indoors promises to allow you to eat better and healthier for less, and have fun building a stealthy farm in your home.
A City Tale: From Mighty Industrial Metropolis
to Urban Blight to Idyllic Farms
In Detroit, where square miles of blighted urban lots are commonplace today, one entrepreneur launched a company to buy lots, clean them up, and convert them into luscious urban farms for profit. A Michigan State University report thinks it’s an idea worth pursuing:
“As city officials ponder proposals for urban farms, a Michigan State University study indicates that a combination of urban farms, community gardens, storage facilities, and hoop houses – greenhouses used to extend the growing season – could supply local residents with more than 75 percent of their vegetables and more than 40 percent of their fruits.“
A third of the land in the city of Detroit is vacant, and much of it is city-owned due to non-payment of property taxes. Hantz Farms is strategically investing $30 million to control up to 10,000 acres where they’ll work the land and keep it open to the public – it will be kept part of the community and neighbors can walk or ride their bike through the lots.
Urban farming on abandoned lots or on city rooftops is spreading around the world and happening in communities in New York, Chicago and more. In fact, Hantz Farms is routinely contacted by groups looking for guidance and education to replicate the process in their own cities.
Nonprofit Food Pantries:
Starting Farms and Teaching Farming
Leads to a Healthy Community
In a small 250 square foot indoor farm the Child Development Support Corp. (a New York City food pantry) grows enough fresh greens to feed hundreds of families each week!
As with many examples where people take personal responsibility, they tend to make decisions that provide better and longer lasting solutions.
The families at this food pantry have a renewed sense of ownership, and have access to fresh, nutritionally dense foods. Plus, the food pantry hosts regular workshops and training sessions on how to grow food at home.
“People feel very passionate about this farm; they’re eating better… They come with a different attitude; it’s all about healthy eating,” said Mireille Massac, who runs the food pantry and farm.
Other area food pantries are learning from their experience and planning to start their own indoor farms as well.
The Ultimate Prepping Skill:
Stealthy Indoor Farming
The New York City food pantry grows food indoors out of necessity. There isn’t much open land. Yet, with the small space of 250 square feet they are able to provide fresh greens for hundreds of families using hydroponic growing methods. Also, because it’s indoors they can have a much longer growing season than the New York weather permits.
Indoor farming has another important benefit to preppers. It can be kept quiet and well-defended. This is important if you find yourself in a long-term emergency where you may not want others to know you have a relatively abundant food source.
Simply stated, hydroponics is soilless growing. Sometime in the 1800s European botanists discovered that plants do not need soil to grow. In fact, with hydroponic growing methods experts say plants grow faster and healthier. Instead of planting into the soil, seeds are sprouted, then their roots are soaked in nutrient enriched water and allowed to drain. The roots take in the nutrients and grow.
The most expensive part to hydroponics is starting out. You can buy ready-made kits that save you time, but may cost more. Or, you can build your own system, which may take more time to gather the parts, but costs much less. Growers say it’s worth it because the costs are offset by higher yields, better quality, multiple harvests, and water use is cut by up to 90% compared to growing in soil!
If you decide to grow indoors, you may have additional expenses for running lights, water pumps, and possibly fans. However, you can water your farm manually to cut the cost of the water pumps. If you grow in a greenhouse-like building, you could save on lighting costs as well.
One close cousin to hydroponics is aeroponics. The main difference: in hydroponics the roots are allowed to grow and grab hold of a quickly draining medium such as loose gravel. In aeroponics, there is no medium to hold on to, per se. Instead the roots are allowed to dangle in the air and the nutrients can be applied by spraying or misting the roots, instead of soaking. Proponents say this cuts down the amount of nutrient needed.
An interesting twist to hydroponics is aquaponics. In this set up, fish are added to the cycle of growth. That’s to say, the process grows fish and grows food in a hydroponic system that circulates and recycles itself. The result is you create an indoor ecosystem where both fresh greens and fresh fish grow naturally and optimally with the same work!
Aquaponic growers say they have lower costs because they don’t need to buy (or buy less) nutrients because the fish provide it. For instance, the plant nutrients (nitrogen) is provided by the fish waste, the plants in turn purify the water as they absorb the nutrients, and on the cycle goes. Plus, because the fish is added to the harvest, overall costs can be offset faster.
For more information in these indoor growing methods check out the following websites:
Look into indoor farming as one more self-sufficient prepping skill that can provide an inexpensive, healthy, and abundant food source now and during emergencies.