Two growing trends (which have been around for decades) have ultimately led to the fledgling, yet booming, indoor farming industry: Cannabis & greenhouses. While greenhouse growing is still somewhat marginalized and cannabis farming is still largely criminalized, both have unlocked a healthier alternative to traditional outdoor plant cultivation.
Honestly, there is a long way to go before the concept that sprung from the natural greenhouse/cannabis partnership becomes the standard by which all farmers produce crops. However, economists, environmental groups, urban planners, and agricultural experts all agree that a change needs to occur.
And whether stakeholders want to admit or not, cannabis growers have always been and will continue to be the catalyst for that change.
Indoor Growing: An Underground Movement
While it’s impossible to go into details here, the legalization of cannabis (informally known as pot or marijuana) stems back to the 1930s due to the concern over user behavior and perceived decline of society.
Both public perception and government policy never really went away. The issue came to a head in the 1960s when recreational use skyrocketed nationwide with emerging generations. Nixon declared drug abuse — which includes cannabis — to be public enemy number one in 1971, The policies that his administration implemented as part of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 were a continuation of drug prohibition policies in the U.S., which started in 1914.
But prohibition did not stop the ever-increasing consumption of cannabis use in the U.S. The issue boiled over once again when Ronald Reagan coined the term ‘war on drugs’ in 1982 followed by Nancy Reagan’s ‘Just Say No’ programs. It was at this point in history when cannabis grower took their industry underground — literally.
The Advent of Hydroponics
Hydroponics is not a new concept. It's been around for thousands of years. What truly spurred the movement, however, was the underground movement. Growers began producing cannabis in hydroponic farms indoors using LED grow lights, controlled environment agriculture, and alternate sources for nutrients. The methods they perfected combined with the already existing greenhouse approach laid the foundation for indoor and urban farming.
After all, if you can grow pot indoors, why not grow everything else?
Just What Have We Learned From Cannabis Growers?
Whether they knew it or not, cannabis cultivators shared a great deal of practical wisdom with the agricultural industry — even if it took a generation or two to catch on.
What have we learned?
With time and persistence, revolutions almost always transform into institutions. The underground movement that drove the cannabis culture has now turned into a $54 billion industry annually. The same is now happening with indoor agriculture and urban farming.
Despite the onslaught of criticism, the lack of economic stability, and all the misinformation, CEA farmers are making a significant impact that city developers, environmental pundits, and consumers are starting to notice. The mavericks of the underground movement today will eventually become the visionaries of tomorrow.
Let’s face it. The margins are not where they need to be right now in indoor agriculture. There are still several issues on the table such as supply vs. demand, operation and equipment costs, infrastructure and widespread acceptance in the industry.
However, as the demand for indoor farming grows, so will the economic benefits — so will the margins. As it stands, cannabis is the most profitable crop in the U.S. with an average profit margin of 100% to 500% per ounce and dropping rapidly as the crop becomes commoditized. The indoor farming industry can match or exceed this margin in as little as 10 years.
Necessity is the mother of innovation. Right now, indoor agriculturalists are devising advanced technology that can barely keep up with their ideas. These inventions will revolutionize how the industry understands farming capabilities and what is possible down the road.
Indoor farmers and engineers are responsible for the technological innovation that includes aeroponics, aquaponics, local markets, green roofs, vertical farming, modular farms, cubic farming systems, LED lighting, hydraulics, CEAs, — the list is endless.
LED Lighting Solutions From GrowFilm™
If you are ready to take your indoor framing to the next level, then contact GrowFilm™ today. We offer innovative LED grow light solutions for all controlled environment agriculture.
To find out more about our LED lighting products and services, call today at 952-944-9863, or you can send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.