The earth is running out of arable land to grow our crops. According to The Guardian, over the last 40 years, “the world has lost a third of its arable land”. Arable land is the land available to grow crops. The land must have a balance of nutrients essential to plant growth. We’re losing arable land to unsustainable farming practices and urbanization.
Some farmers use unsustainable farming practices. The practices will decrease the quality of the soil and eventually destroy the soil completely. The most common practices are the use of monocropping and the use of excessive amounts of chemicals. Every plant requires different conditions to grow. For example, potatoes require a lot of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to grow properly. If a farmer plants only potatoes for many years in a row, the quantity in these nutrients decreases significantly. The land will no longer be capable of growing crops anymore. It is now wasted. Furthermore, unsustainable farming practices include using an excessive amount of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.
As the benefits of living in urban areas increase, more and more people will move towards urban areas. If an urban area cannot safely contain that many people, it will increase the urban area into rural areas. This is urban sprawl and it can take over arable land and use it for residential, commercial, and/or industrial purposes.
We’re in the darkest hour. What can we do about this? Farmers should consider the use of crop rotation. Different crops will be planted every year. The first year could host a crop that leaves high amounts of pH in the soil. The second-year hosts a crop that thrives in soils with high pH. This “mutualistic” relationship can benefit crop quality and crop yield. Consumers should create gardens, such as aeroponic gardens. These gardens have plants growing in the air, instead of in soil or water. Aeroponics can increase the intake of oxygen for the roots and carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. Aeroponics decrease bugs in the plant, decrease the possibility of diseases being transferred, and decrease the consumption of water to up to 90%!
We can slowly fight the arable land crisis. One garden, one farm at a time use the new technologies and techniques.