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Farms Taking High-Low Approach for Food Sustainability in the Future

Food and Beverages | Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Innovations and solutions in agriculture are helping build a more sustainable food system for the future.

Fremont, CA: Agriculture uses half of the world's arable land and most of its freshwater, while animal production accounts for 14.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. With the global population anticipated to reach 9.8 billion by 2050, there will be two billion more mouths to feed, necessitating a 70 percent increase in food production.

Meeting this need environmentally responsible is one of humanity's most important concerns. Scientists, horticulturists, and chefs concerned with sustainably feeding the world are developing ecologically conscious agricultural procedures and food items. The tracks they are blazing around the world will alter how farmers cultivate food and the items that end up on consumers' plates.

The high-low approach for food sustainability

If the food business learned anything from the Covid-19 outbreak, it is the fragility of food production's underpinnings. Systems that rely less on manual labor and environmental conditions are more likely to be durable and sustainable. One approach is utilizing technology to cultivate crops indoors, especially in urban areas.

Globally, vertical farms are planting higher and outward. These environment-controlled nurseries utilize hydroponics and aeroponics to eliminate the need for soil and sunlight, while artificial intelligence optimizes the climatic conditions for each crop by adjusting parameters such as humidity and temperature. Vertical farms generate a greater agricultural output with a smaller footprint compared to conventional row farming. Willo, a startup located in San Jose that delivers vertically farmed vegetables directly to paying subscribers, will unveil a smartphone app in 2022 that allows users to select and monitor the crops they want Willo to grow on their plot. This year, Farm.One, a direct-to-consumer subscription service that sends fresh greens from its vertical farms in New York City to consumers on the opposite coast, intends to expand to other cities. In Europe's largest vertical farm, located in Copenhagen, Nordic Harvest grows carbon-neutral greens and herbs using wind energy. Even Iceland, where just a small amount of land is considered fertile, is sown upward: the vertical farm VAXA grows multiple types of greens and herbs within 10 minutes of the center of Reykjavik.

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