With 9 billion people by 2040, feeding the planet’s population will be one of humanity’s greatest challenges.
Under the combined weight of mushrooming population growth, rapid urban expansion and the challenges raised by the climate emergency, how we feed our cities is an increasingly pressing concern. In 2050, 80% of the world’s food will be consumed in cities.
Today, we tend to talk a lot about the environment, water issues and other problems that humanity faces. But if you look at the fundamentals behind all these problems, you will see there is only one problem on this planet – the human being.
Though we are the source of the problem, we can also be the source of the solution.
Ecological issues are no longer tomorrow’s problems; they are today’s problems. It is a matter of survival. It is very clear from many parameters that if we do not do something significant in the next few years, the size and nature of the problems we will face will be of a magnitude we have never seen before.
The most important thing right now is to create a Conscious Planet.
Reducing “food miles” by producing fresh food close to urban markets;
Reducing fertilizer use and energy consumption by productive reuse of urban organic wastes;
Enhancing rainwater infiltration;
Reducing the urban heat island effect by increasing the surface of green areas;
Enhancing carbon sequestration (urban forests);
Providing better diets, urban food security, jobs and income;
Reducing the vulnerability of the urban poor and enhancing their coping capacity;
Diversifying income opportunities: creation of “green jobs”; safety nets in times of economic crisis;
Enhancing community building, innovation and education;
Keeping low-lying zones free from construction so that floods have less impact, stormwater runoff is reduced, and excess water is stored and infiltrates green open spaces;
Enabling productive reuse of organic wastes, thereby reducing methane emissions from landfill and reducing energy use in the production of fertilisers;
Reuse of urban wastewater to free fresh water for higher value uses and reduce emissions from wastewater treatment.
Urban Agriculture, is part of the Circular Economy.
The approach consists in seeking
inspiration in natural morphologies and
processes. Bio-inspiration takes the living world as a model, seeking to use architecture to recreate a relationship with nature. There are two forms of bio-inspiration: biophilia and biomimicry.
Urban farming is an adaptation mechanism that helps to secure people’s ability to provide themselves with fresh, locally produced food, while reducing transport related GHG emissions.
Greenhouse cultivation has evolved from simple covered rows of open-fields crops to highly sophisticated controlled environment agriculture facilities that projected the image of plant factories for urban farming.
GOING FULL CIRCLE. CONNECTING URBAN AND PERI-URBAN AGRICULTURE IN A CIRCULAR ECONOMY FOR FOOD
• Expansive urban agriculture (including backyard and rooftop farming)
Covered urban agriculture (greenhouses, including rooftops)
• High tech vertical and indoor farming (including container and warehouse farms)
• Aquafarming (controlled environment fish production)
• Aquaponics (combining fish rearing with one of the above for symbiotic effects)
• Insect farming (growing insect protein based on biomass, including potentially biowastes)
• Molecular agriculture (lab-grown meat and microbial production of essential components such as oils, vitamins and protein).
Cities’ responses to the ever-greater distancing in their relationships to food involve myriad initiatives that aim to relocate food to urban centers or nearby. Cities have considerable assets and resources at their disposal when it comes to managing food questions. They produce biomass on a daily basis that, if properly recovered and processed, can become a source of fertilizer for farmers.
Pyrolysis Technology is an environmentally friendly solution to process and recycle all types of organic matter, including coal, municipal organic waste, sewage sludge, plastic waste, rubber waste, sludge or infested soil, in an economically efficient way for electricity production.
– production of thermal energy with pellets produced from any biomass, respectively by-products and organic residues from agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry, industry, energy plants, municipal and industrial biodegradable waste
– processing of organic waste by pyrolysis for the production of electricity, heat in cogeneration and bio gas, bio-oil, biochar.
This company appears to use robotics perhaps more than the others, in the picking process at least, and claims to operate fully autonomous indoor farming. It too is a proponent of hydroponics, and is a retail-oriented company.
Its products are similar to the others’ – leafy greens such as lettuce and kale or things like that. It’s one of the newer startups on the list so a lot might change.
Iron Ox has only recently started supplying its products to local markets in California. The company has so far raised over $6 million in funding, according to CrunchBase.
While we couldn’t immediately find how much funding CropOne has raised, we did find that it has signed a $40 million joint venture agreement with Emirates Airlines to build what is described as “the world’s largest vertical farming facility” in Dubai, UAE.
It follows, perhaps, that it will eventually supply a lot of its produce to Emirates Airlines for its flight passengers.
CropOne, founded in 2011, claims to use just 1 percent of the amount of the water required by traditional agriculture, using a hydroponic system. It’s also big on big data, with “millions of data points collected each day” about its plants, which are mainly edible leafy greens.
French vertical farm startup uses an aeroponic system to grow fruit and vegetables. It appears to like strawberries more than other produce. Not a bad idea since strawberries are hugely popular in France, which has a massive traditional agriculture industry.
AgriCool says its aim is to be within 20 km of its customers and offers a program called “Cooltivator”, through which customers can learn how to use its technology and possibly become producers and distributors themselves.
So far, AgriCool has more than $41 million in funding since its launch in 2015, according to VentureBeat. The company also uses shipping containers as “Cooltainers” in which its aeroponic farms can be set up.
Netto Development LTD militate for a
Conscious Planet: A vision for sustainable development
– Energy efficiency
– Carbon footprint
– Reduction in ozone and particulate matter
– Soil decontamination
– Noise pollution
– Nutrition and quality of food
– Economy of scale
– Health inequalities and food justice
– Environmental justice