The FAO has just launched the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables. Throughout 2021, several activities and events will be organized all over the world to raise awareness for the vital role of fruits and vegetables in healthy nutrition and food security, together with the importance of reducing food loss and waste, and promoting sustainable production of fruits and vegetables.
"Moving towards healthier diets while making our food production more sustainable is an objective that the growing media sector already contributes to. More and more fruits and vegetables are grown in growing media since it helps reaching this objective and several others," the team with Growing Media Europe says.
According to the organisation, growing media contributes to answer the increasing worldwide demand for fruits and vegetables, guaranteeing food security and reducing food loss and waste. "When growing media are used in protected cultivation systems, weather conditions have less impact," they say and add that the necessary input of fertilisers, plant protection products and water per amount of harvested produce is much lower than in open field agriculture. "Growing media can often circumvent the perils of many soil-borne diseases typically developing under high pressure growing methods in the open field."
In addition, the reduced land-use footprint is yet another advantage of soilless growing, and while the working conditions are more favourable, less labour is required compared to growing the same crops in the ground. "The use of growing media also enables horticulture in areas where conventional open field growing is climate-wise impossible or economically not viable," they conclude.
Growing Media Europe
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