A worker harvests vegetables at Sky Greens vertical farm in Singapore. REUTERS/Edgar Su
A Farm Grows in the City
Since getting food to people who live far from farms is costly, more startups and city authorities are finding ways to grow food closer to home. High-tech “vertical farms” are sprouting inside warehouses and shipping containers, where lettuce and other greens grow without soil, stacked in horizontal or vertical rows, and fed by water and LED lights, which can be used to control the size, texture, or other characteristic of a plant.
A Climate Change Solution beneath Our Feet
Researchers at UC Davis are advocating for greater awareness of soil’s ability to sequester carbon and act as a defense against climate change. Soil can potentially store between 1.5 and 5.5 billion tons of carbon a year globally. That’s equivalent to between 5 and 20 billion tons of carbon dioxide. While significant, it’s still just a fraction of the carbon emitted, making it just one of many solutions needed to confront climate change.
Sneakers Made from Corn? Seat Cushions from Soybeans?
Facing overstuffed silos and forecasts for another huge harvest this year, US farmers are trying to find new uses for their corn and soybeans. Robust demand for processed foods, animal feed, and biofuels isn’t keeping up with a record glut of crops in the United States and around the world. So, to sell the surplus, farmers and trade groups are wooing new customers, from car makers to toy companies.
Agrosmart Founder Puts Soil Analysis on Farm Phones
When Mariana Vasconcelos founded Agrosmart in 2014, her youth made it particularly difficult to get the agricultural technology business off the ground. But thanks to help from start-up accelerator programs, the company’s technology—which uses data harvested from the sensors it supplies that are installed in farmers’ fields—is now monitoring 50,000 hectares in nine of Brazil’s states. The aim is to boost production of corn, wheat, sugarcane, coffee, fruits, and vegetables.