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  • Ulf Kurkiewicz

FOOD SHORTAGE IN THE WORLD OF PLENTY

We know that the population is growing rapidly even if there are signs that the growth will be flatten out around 11 billion people. We also know that feeding this population will be a large problem to solve.

If we shall do this without destroying the habitats for other species living together with us on planet Earth the challenge is even higher and more complicated.


The challenges we need to handle are several and one is the loss of land optimized for farming, another is the increase of natural impacts from rain or drought, decreasing the level of harvest. Yet another one is the industrial type of farming and animal husbandry used at many places. Creating depleted soil and large use of pesticides leaking over to anyone eating the crop. Or the large use of antibiotics within animal husbandry.


Is it all dark then? I will argue no. There are lot of things happening due to development of technology for the agricultural sector. Artificial Intelligence technologies can help us in a variety of areas. It could be to yield healthier crops, control pests, monitor soil and growing conditions. The AI systems can also help us to improve harvest quality and accuracy by detecting and target weeds and come up with suggestions for proper actions.

Another important area is to help with seasonal forecasting. This is particularly important for small farms in developing countries as these farms produce 70% of the worlds crops.


With less people able and willing to tend to the land to agricultural work, AI agriculture Bots could be part of the solution. They work in parallell with human workforce and appear in different forms. As they can harvest crops at a higher volume and faster pace they can help to reduce costs for farms by working round the clock. The use of Chat bots help answer a variety of questions and provide advice and recommendations.


We are also adding methods and technologies for farming vertical instead of farming only horizontal. By this latter action we can increase the available farming area almost infinitely. Singapore is one area where this is blooming due to high dependence of import of agricultural products. Jack NG, CEO of one of the companies has invented a systems that revolves the plant boxes slowly to give them light as well as water. Most remarkably is his comment ” Not too much movement. Too much movement frightens the plants”. Something to consider deeply.


There are several examples of vertical farming all over the world. Another angle of this is that you can move some of the production to the places where most of the population actually lives and minimize the need of transportation of food across the globe.


By combining use of hydroponic and aquaponic systems you can decrease the use of water, diminish the use of fertilizer and diminish the use of antibiotics or pesticides. Letting fish live in the water that are beneath the plants you can reuse the waste from the fish them selves and from the food for the fish and use it as manure for the plants. Reducing the use of fresh water is actually a very important thing. Water as well as food might become a very scarce resource if we do not change the way we use it today.


What new challenges will indoor and/or urban indoor farming bring to us? One of them is the use of energy. If we have to use artificial light to grow plants indoor we need to do this in an energy effective way. If we want to grow plants in areas where we have cold temperature on the outside, we need warm the ”green house” in a smart way. Will the loss of real sunlight have a long term impact of the indoor agriculture? Do we need to find solutions of transferring the sunlight unfiltered into indoor agriculture facilities?


Yet another angle to consider is to take care of the food we already produce. Take care of it instead of putting it into the bin as soon as it starts to look less fresh or because we are getting close to best before date. We know there is a huge wastage of the food across the world and by using AI systems with the right algorithms, we can adress some of the areas of this problem too. If we in addition uses our senses, instead of leaning towards an invented standard of when things are fresh or not, we will at the same time save time and money but but also leading to a sustainable development.


One question you can ask yourself is why we need to end up in this kind of position? Being forced to reconsider how we do things with the knife on our throats. Why do we not consider the ways we behave under more controlled conditions?


In my opinion we have got used, at least many of us, to get whatever food we want anytime we want it. Not giving thought of the efforts made to produce and transport it. We have not considered the long term impact of environment, health and life. Just carrying on blindfolded.

As we have seen this method will not work. What can we learn from the young generation that eventually will become the ones who decide? They seem to be aware that their heritage will not be the most beneficial one. What they seek is a conscious approach to a sustainable place to live and thrive on. A place where all living beings have a right to its environment.


We can reach this without to give up all the convenience we got used to. We just need to take conscious decisions based on what we really need, not from what might be available or what our neighbor might have. Conscious decisions that we as human beings can influence how we do things.


Be Conscious


Ulf



Caption 1

Ensuring an environment for all living beings has to be the natural choice when we choose the way forward. Leave our egoistic view of the world and recognize that we are just one of many species with the right to exist.


Caption 2

Our soil will be full of life if we let it. Life that will help us to grow crops and vegetables free of dangerous chemicals. A soil that eventually will give us the possibility to leave a living soil to the generations coming after us.



Caption 3

Water means life and is a precious gift on planet Earth. We need to take care of our life giving fresh water in a responsible way. Using it for life bringing and life sustaining purposes for all of us here. Not just for a chosen few.






MUSIC #1

RO⎪ By Adam Falk


LECTURE #1

Plantagon⎪World Food Building




LECTURE #2

World Economic Forum⎪Farmers in the Netherlands are growing more food using less resources


LECTURE #3

Epic Gardening⎪492lb of Cucumbers in 4 Weeks?! Aquaponics Greenhouse Tour




READINGS #1

Vertical Farm Feeding the World in the 21 st Century⎪ By Dickson Despommier



READINGS #2

A Step by Step Guide to Raising Vegetables & Fish Together⎪ By Sylvia Bernstein




READINGS #3

How AI Is Transforming Agriculture⎪ By Kathleen Walch





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