The conversation on the future of farming in terms of the food-energy-water nexus is one that is not new. Yet, as our indoor farming technology evolves, we still find ourselves battling the constant effects of climate change. One may say, “ But, that’s the point of controlled environment agriculture. We control exposure to climate change issues”. However, time and time again, we’ve seen that even the CEA industry can’t run away from the effects of climate change, especially as urban areas continue to get hit harder and harder, which is where many CEA farms are located. Resiliency is the name of the game, and finding a sweet spot for the food-energy-water industries is the X-factor.
A quick look at the current situation in California, one of the largest agriculture hubs in the country, is very telling. As extreme drought sweeps across 90% of California, in July, Governor Gavin Newsom asked Californians to voluntarily cut their water use by 15%. Approximately 750,000 acres of farmland could find themselves with 0% of their allocated water from the State Water Project next year. The situation is dire, which is why the CEA industry is working hard to fill this gap. In our Founder and CEO’s upcoming panel at NYC AgTech Week 2021, “Farming for the Future”, she’ll be speaking to Sarge Green, a Water Management Specialist from Fresno State University, who will provide insight on how collaboration will help the CEA industry be resilient in this space.
45% of the world’s population currently lives in rural areas, a reduction from what it was in the 1960’s: two-thirds of the global population. This means that cities are now “nodes of manifold energy metabolisms, where multiple systems and modalities of infrastructural provision are entangled with social, economic, and cultural connections”. The CEA industry represents one of these “systems and modalities” and achieving a low-energy production method means managing increasing energy loads as a result of growing populations in urban areas. Bethany Reinholtz from GDS Associates and Rebecca Craft from Sidewalk Labs will share their experience on how indoor farms can approach this.
Across the world, one billion people are hungry. Yet, all of them could be fed on less than a quarter of the food that is wasted in the US, UK, and Europe. The food waste statistics are staggering and as the amount of waste continues to increase, both on-farm and across the food supply chain, the impact on greenhouse gas emissions could be catastrophic. Instead of feeding those that need it the most, the agriculture industry will perpetuate the hunger problem and add to climate change issues. But it can be avoided. Our CEO and Founder, Tinia, will explore what infrastructure is needed in order to curb this issue.
Register and join us at NYC Agtech Week for a conversation on this topic tomorrow, Friday 24 Sep 2021. Use code: SPEAKER10 at checkout. We’ll see you there!
By Riyana Razalee