Between 1992 and 2007, the number of products sold by farmers directly to consumers increased three fold and twice as fast as total agricultural sales. This gives to show that recent policies and campaigns aimed at improving the sale of local food have been largely successful. Local food is fresher, has more flavor and a longer shelf life, supports small business from the local community, preserves the use of farmlands and open spaces by making them economically viable. But not all agricultural sectors have received equal attention – take flowers, for instance. Some 80% of the flowers sold in the $7 billion-$8 billion American market come from South America, according to the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC).
By 2050, world population is expected to rise to nine billion, but the amount of arable land meant to grow food will remain mostly the same as it stands today. As such, a 25% increase in productivity is mandated to support not just a growing populace, but also a wealthier one – as income inequality is coming down in developing countries, we’re also seeing a sharp increase in meat consumption, for instance. Genetically modified organisms and waste management are just a few paramount solutions. At the same time, productivity stems from agricultural processes and some modern farmers are already integrating the latest technology to increase their yields and cut costs. Twenty years from now, expect your oranges and corn to be 100% sown, grown and harvested by robots.
One of the world’s most iconic and well known monuments – the Eiffel Tower – just got even better: the French authorities have installed two vertical axis wind turbines to power, at least partially, the tower’s electrical requirements.
One of the prime arguments climate change skeptics throw about is how surface temperatures have remained more or less constant for the past 15 years, hence there is no man-made global warming – it’s all a sham, a conspiracy to keep scientists busy with gratuitous grants and fill Al Gore’s pockets. I’ve written previously about models and observations that explain
Building vertical farms is innovative and can have significant advantages, done properly; but building a vertical farm in the middle of a city… that’s just awesome! In downtown Jackson, Wyoming, developers are working on a vertical veggie farm which just might revolutionize urban food growing.
Forget potato clocks – this is the real deal. Plant-e, a start-up company in the Netherlands created promising new technology which harvest electricity from plants. So far this month, more than 300 LED lights were illuminated by the Dutch company, in a promising proof-of-concept. They also demonstrated that they could power up cell phones and Wi-Fis. Generating electricity from thin air
Researchers at Stanford University coated flexible textile fibers with metallic nanowires to form a cohesive network that acts as a fantastic thermal insulator. The flexible material, made of silver nanowires and carbon nanotubes, is knitted together so closely that the space between individual strands is smaller than the wavelength of infrared radiation. As such, the radiation emitted by our bodies bounces between the skin and cloth.
If the leaf really works as the hype would have us believe, than it’s really a fantastic display of ingenuity. However there’s no paper, no data on tests that might tell us how efficient the leaf is at photosynthesis (if such tests even exist) and no solid scientific grounds that would suggest the leaf would actually work as intended. For the moment, it seems like this artificial leaf in question is more conceptual than it is practical.
An inspired entrepreneur, Shigeharu Shimamura, took an old semiconductor factory that was abandoned following the 2011 Japan disaster and turned it into the largest indoor farm in the world. Using state of the art growing technology, his company manages to make some 10,000 heads of lettuce per day out of the 25,000 square feet facility. This makes it 100 times more productive per square foot than traditional agriculture, all with 40% less power, 80% less food waste and 99% less water usage than outdoor fields.
More than 2.5 billion people around the world lack access to clean water, making them vulnerable to diseases. To help address this delicate world problem, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has funded Janicki Bioenergy to build the Omniprocessor – a self-contained system that processes nasty sludge and turns it into electricity, pathogen free ash and pure water. And to demonstrate how safe