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These 4 Reasons Tell Us Why It’s Time To Shift To Indoor Farming

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Traditionally, agriculture was done on large open farms, having a large dependence on external environmental factors. In recent times, there is a new vertical emerging in agriculture, giving promising results i.e., Indoor farming or vertical farming. Particular challenges that were faced in conventional cultivation techniques have been resolved with indoor agriculture. Though growing indoors can never be a replacement for outdoor agriculture, it can certainly help in growing certain vegetables, herbs, microgreens, and more. 

Let’s have a comparative study of indoor growing vs. outdoor growing.

Weather Dependence

The Role of Weather—and Weather Forecasting—in Agriculture - DTN

Traditional outdoor growing is largely dependent on weather conditions. Only seasonal crops can be grown. Weather conditions can be the biggest nightmares for farmers as things like thunderstorms, floods, droughts can damage crops overnight. By growing indoors, we eliminate our dependence on the weather. Instead, growers can control the climate inside the indoor growing system creating the ideal environment for maximum outputs. Using a wide range of sensors, indoor growers can check their plants at all times. 

Pesticides And Herbicides Requirement

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The crops are more prone to pests and other animal damage as they are exposed to the outer environment. We recently saw the locust attack that happened; it devastated large areas of crops. We saw how fast they travelled and farmers couldn’t take measures in time. They had to spray large amounts of pesticides to protect the remaining crops that eventually went into our systems. The pesticides and chemical fertilizers used are a root cause of major ailments like cancers, immune disorders, infertility, and cardiovascular diseases. 

Indoor grown edibles need fewer chemical additives to grow well. Being indoors, they are not prone to pests. Also, the environment is controlled; therefore, there is no need for pesticides or herbicides. Therefore, the vegetables are pure. 

FAO Land and Water on Twitter: "Nice graphs comparing growth of ...

About 70% of the world’s freshwater goes to agriculture. And with increasing populations, this water requirement is expected to go up by 15% by2050. This is a thing we should be afraid of, as the freshwater resources are declining. If things keep going in the same way, there is a possibility that we might not be able to keep up with the requirements. Taking the case of indoor growing, techniques such as hydroponics take up to 90-95% less water. They use a closed-loop system, where there is no wastage, and resources are optimally utilized. 

 The Nutritional Content Of Edibles

Even Poor Countries End Up Wasting Tons Of Food : Goats and Soda : NPR

The current agriculture system is centralized. Therefore, fruits and vegetables have to travel thousands of miles before they reach us. In the meanwhile, they lose a considerable amount of nutritional content. For example, spinach loses about 50-90% of its vitamin C within 24 hours of being harvested, which means the vegetables and fruits we eat at our homes in cities is not as nutritional as it should be.

In the case of indoor growing, which is generally done in cities near our homes, transportation time is less than 5-6 hours. Therefore, they are fresh and highly nutritious. 

Pre And Post-Harvest Losses

10 Facts You Might Not Know About Food Waste

About 40% of the world’s food is wasted due to the pre and post-harvest losses. Pre-harvest losses occur before harvesting begins, and may be due to insects, weeds, and rusts. Post-harvest losses occur between harvest and the moment of human consumption. Fruits and vegetables are perishable products and tend to get spoiled or degraded with time and unfavourable factors. Indoor growing has very low wastage as they rarely get diseases; they are near to cities and therefore, have lower transportation times. The edibles are consumed soon after they are harvested. 

This comparison is just a brief glimpse of how growing indoors is more beneficial as compared to conventional growing. However, this article does not mean that indoor growing can replace proper farming. Outdoor farming can not be eliminated but can be decentralized, and with the help of indoor growing techniques, we can revolutionize the current agriculture system for the better. 

About the author: Palak Kumar is an insatiably curious Mechanical Engineering student, passionate about flying, clouds, literature, and plants, working towards revolutionizing Indoor Vertical Growing.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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