There is a lot happening in the world of food. Since it is one of the necessities of the planet, we are seeing a lot of development trying to radically alter how we produce our food.
The challenge is that nature is set in her ways. Evolution is a slow process, requires dozens of generations before we see much of a change.
For this reason, many scientists, researchers, and technological entrepreneurs are looking at different means of food production. I covered a few of them in the past on this blog.
One of the major areas that is drawing attention is in growing crops. How can we do this more efficiently, in greater quantity, and for less money? This deals with not only crops that humans consume but also those which are fed to livestock.
Grov Technologies introduced a vertical farm which it tested in generated feed for cows. This proof-of-concept showed how efficient the system is since it removes the uncertainty that farmers traditionally face.
Here is what the company said in its press release:
Taking up only 857 square feet of space, just one Olympus Tower can produce from 5,000 to 6,000 pounds of sprouted wheat/barley grass per day using less than 5 percent of the water and replacing between 35 to 50 acres compared to traditional farming. Olympus requires minimal labor by leveraging proprietary, robotic seed-to-harvest technology. Plant growth is constantly analyzed with data collected from integrated tower sensors and testing performed by Grōv's scientists to adjust and optimize tower performance, yield and nutrition.
In it, they also detailed the results with a farm they partnered with:
As part of its pilot program, Grōv partnered with Utah's largest dairy operation, Bateman Mosida Farms, to implement Olympus Towers and build the world's first commercial scale CEA feed center. Controlled studies of more than 600 animals, that began in 2019 on the Bateman dairy, found that cows fed a ration including Grōv's HDN sprouted wheatgrass more efficiently produced milk on less feed, thus improving the farm's bottom line. Additionally, these independent trials showed that Grōv's feed product also improved meat quality in beef cattle.
To get a full understanding of what the system entails, this link has a 3 minute video of showing it in action. I highly recommend everyone give it a watch.
This is certainly addressing a concern that many people have. As the global population increases, questions about sustainability are taking place on many levels. However, one of the biggest areas of discussion is food. We already has a situation where more than 1 billion people suffer from malnutrition to the point of starvation. An equal number of people are malnourished to the point where they are suffering severe health effects.
With so many hungry, food producers are having to take novel look at the process of food creation. Since we generate enough food to feed the planet, we have to embrace that there is a distribution problem. Much of this is due to geopolitical circumstances. However, there is also the challenge of food transportation since there are so many miles between where it is produced as compared to where it is eventually consummed.
The video, towards the end, makes note of an interesting idea. It was said that one day it could be envisioned that one of these systems will be in the back of a supermarket, growing food for them to sell.
Altering the path of evolution is one piece of the puzzle. However, utilizing technology to enable localized production is crucial. Here is where we can see many of the present issues removed.
Traditional farming requires a lot of land, water, and sunlight. Vertical farms that operate in controlled climates are able to operate with a fraction of this. When we are considering 95% less water, a few square meters, plus LED lighting, we can see how the entire situation changes.
Suddenly, most areas of the planet are able to grow their own food instead of a few areas that are ideally suited based upon their climates.
Food is one area that technology is expected to impact over the next decade. The convergence of many different technologies is going to radically alter how we feed ourselves going forward. Many of the ideas that are being piloted will eventually find their way to our plates.
Ultimately, this will likely create a more sustainable world while reducing the amount of land required for food production. We also can reduce the amount of water and chemicals needed.
This is just one area where technology is seeking to improve upon what nature already did.
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