Unused rooftop space transformed into stunning sustainable farm

 2CC9DB6D-707D-4293-9CA3-0EB66485F1BC

The Thammasat University Rooftop Farm measures roughly 236,800 sq ft (22,000 sq m), making it the largest organic rooftop farm in Asia

The Thammasat University Rooftop Farm (or TURF), by Landprocess, puts an abandoned rooftop area belonging to Thammasat University’s Rangsit Campus to fine use as an organic farm. The project incorporates solar power and rainwater collection, and is used to teach sustainable farming techniques.

Continue reading… “Unused rooftop space transformed into stunning sustainable farm”

0

This former semiconductor factory is now the worlds largest indoor farm, producing 10k heads of lettuce per day

8363E317-BB2F-49E9-A6F9-1927CD201278

This indoor Japanese farm uses LED lights and hydroponics to produce lettuce 2.5 times faster, with just 1% of the water, when compared to an outdoor farm.

When we think about factories, and what we decry as “factory farms,” we probably don’t think very highly of them as being a key component in the future of agriculture, but if we can take what factories do best, such as use technology to build efficient production lines, and pair that with what nature does best, which is growing biomass from light and water and minerals, then growing food in plant factories starts to make a lot of sense.

Converting what were formerly industrial buildings into indoor farming operations, especially in urban areas and locations that aren’t conducive to year-round outdoor food production, could be an excellent reuse of existing resources (the buildings themselves, the infrastructure that supports them, and their locations in or near cities) to help build a more sustainable food system. And this sort of operation can be done in a way that’s both highly efficient and productive (PDF), in essence turning our ideas about industrial-scale factory farming on their heads.

Continue reading… “This former semiconductor factory is now the worlds largest indoor farm, producing 10k heads of lettuce per day”

0

Tyson Foods chairman warns ‘the food supply chain is breaking’

The chairman of Tyson Foods is warning that “millions of pounds of meat will disappear” from the national food supply chain as the coronavirus outbreak forces food processing plants to shutter.

“The food supply chain is breaking,” John Tyson wrote in a full-page advertisement published Sunday in The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

“There will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed,” he wrote in the advertisement, which was also published as a blog post on the company’s website.

In recent weeks, the major poultry producer has suspended operations at plants across the country. The company halted operations Wednesday at an Iowa plant that is crucial to the nation’s pork supply.

Continue reading… “Tyson Foods chairman warns ‘the food supply chain is breaking’”

0

U.S. reels toward meat shortage; world may be next

B44FAD76-977A-4837-BB4B-4422982085CC

Key operations are halted in the U.S., Brazil and Canada, affecting pork and poultry production.

Plant shutdowns are leaving the U.S. dangerously close to meat shortages as coronavirus outbreaks now spread to suppliers across the Americas.

Almost a third of U.S. pork capacity is down, the first big poultry plants closed on Friday and experts are warning that domestic shortages are just weeks away. Brazil, the world’s No. 1 shipper of chicken and beef, saw its first major closure with the halt of a poultry plant owned by JBS SA, the world’s biggest meat company. Key operations are also down in Canada, the latest being a British Columbia poultry plant.

While hundreds of plants in the Americas are still running, the staggering acceleration for supply disruptions is now raising questions over global shortfalls. Taken together, the U.S., Brazil and Canada account for about 65% of world meat trade.

“It’s absolutely unprecedented,” said Brett Stuart, president of Denver-based consulting firm Global AgriTrends. “It’s a lose-lose situation where we have producers at the risk of losing everything and consumers at the risk of paying higher prices. Restaurants in a week could be out of fresh ground beef.”

Continue reading… “U.S. reels toward meat shortage; world may be next”

0

5 incredible synthetic biology holy grails that could change the world

C051D339-7D06-4260-BE59-457B1033DAEC

Investors are still waiting for next-generation biotech to deliver on its enormous promise and potential, but just one of these Holy Grails would make the wait worth it.

 Biotechnology has come a long way since 1978, when Herbert Boyer successfully demonstrated that human insulin could be produced from bacteria engineered with recombinant DNA. The breakthrough technology pushed a little-known company called Genentech into the spotlight and forever changed the world. Genentech was acquired by Roche for $46.8 billion in 2009. The American bioeconomy — biotech crops, biochemicals, and biologic drugs — generated an estimated $324 billion of gross domestic product in 2012. And millions of people worldwide today rely on insulin and other biologic drugs daily.

You could argue that recombinant DNA was the first Holy Grail technology delivered by the field. Several more have followed. In fact, we’ve recently been treated to the development and ongoing commercialization of the gene-editing technology known as CRISPR — a true game-changer for the biotech ecosystem. Headache-inducing legal entanglements aside, CRISPR promises to help synthetic biology deliver on its enormous potential and could even be an integral tool needed to produce several other world-changing Holy Grails. Some are closer to reality than investors may think.

Continue reading… “5 incredible synthetic biology holy grails that could change the world”

0

So you’re too ethical to eat meat; but should cows go extinct?

8ACB42C5-BA80-49D6-85A5-BDAC8B4CD648

Vegetarianism and veganism are becoming more popular. Alternative sources of protein, including lab-grown meat, are becoming available. This trend away from farmed meat-eating looks set to continue. From an environmental perspective and a welfare perspective, that’s a good thing. But how far should we go? Would it be good if the last cow died?

Many people value species diversity. Very many feel the pull of the intuition that it’s a bad thing if a species becomes extinct. In fact, we sometimes seem to value the species more than we value the individual members. Think of insects, for example. The life of a fly might be of trivial value, but each fly species seems considerably more valuable (despite the lack of any direct instrumental value to us of flies). Do we – should we – value cattle? Should we be concerned if cows (or a subspecies of cows) is threatened with extinction? Should we take steps to preserve them, just as we take steps to conserve pandas and wolves?

Continue reading… “So you’re too ethical to eat meat; but should cows go extinct?”

0

Here’s how we could feed a million people on Mars

 

Plant growth chamber on Mars

If we want to colonize Mars, we’re going to need to figure out a way to feed ourselves there, and continuously sending food to the Red Planet isn’t a sustainable plan.

But now, a team of researchers thinks it’s figured out a way to produce enough food on Mars to feed a million people — and they say their plan to make Martian colonists self-sufficient would take just a hundred years to implement.

Continue reading… “Here’s how we could feed a million people on Mars”

0

Gene-edited cattle have a major screwup in their DNA

 

BEBEC1B5-01D3-42ED-84E1-883EE28E5948

Bid for barnyard revolution is set back after regulators find celebrity “hornless” bovines contaminated by bacterial genes.

They were the poster animals for the gene-editing revolution, appearing in story after story. By adding just a few letters of DNA to the genomes of dairy cattle, a US startup company had devised a way to make sure the animals never grew troublesome horns.

To Recombinetics—the St. Paul, Minnesota gene-editing company that made the hornless cattle—the animals were messengers of a new era of better, faster, molecular farming. “This same outcome could be achieved by breeding in the farmyard,” declared the company’s then-CEO Tammy Lee Stanoch in 2017. “This is precision breeding.”

Except it wasn’t.

Food and Drug Administration scientists who had a closer look at the genome sequence of one of the edited animals, a bull named Buri, have discovered its genome contains a stretch of bacterial DNA including a gene conferring antibiotic resistance.

Continue reading… “Gene-edited cattle have a major screwup in their DNA”

0

This brilliant hydroponic system puts a whole garden on your countertop

6FCA1D7F-EDAD-468E-971C-50AA5FD30EBA

Growing your own food is one of life’s great pleasures—plus it’s good for you and for the environment. But in increasingly tight, urban homes, we don’t all have room for gardens. And hydroponic systems, as appealing as they may be, often appear to be a whole lot of hardware for only a bit of actual green. Some fresh arugula would be nice for dinner, but who wants giant plastic box taking up half their kitchen to get a few leaves?

The Rotofarm, by an Australian company called Bace (which appears to have produced skincare products in a past life), is a space-friendly hydroponic system, and it doubles as a beautiful sculpture in your home. With a circular design, which rotates plants like a Ferris wheel through the day, the Rotofarm is able to fit nearly five feet of growing area inside a countertop footprint of just 11 inches. Water is dispersed through the nutrient and water reservoir in the stainless steel base, and a bright LED grow light lives in the middle like a tiny sun. Then to harvest, you can tilt the farm 180-degrees and pull off its clear cover. You take what you want (kale, mint, lettuce, spinach, or, yes, marijuana), and close it back up.

Continue reading… “This brilliant hydroponic system puts a whole garden on your countertop”

0

Electric powered farm vehicles set to revolutionise agriculture sector

Microsoft Word - Electric vehicles in agriculture -final

 The use of battery power for agricultural vehicles and machinery promises to revolutionise the agricultural industry by lowering costs and improving production. From battery powered large tractors to autonomous small electric robots, battery and solar power are changing the face of agriculture.

Agriculture is under pressure to produce more food using a declining availability of additional arable land and water resources. Mechanised farming can improve food production in Africa, but requires energy, an increasingly costly input to the food production process. There is a need to control energy costs, as in any other industry, by the use of more efficient methods and machinery.

Agriculture is going through a revolution, brought about by new technology, moving to what is known as precision farming (PF), which uses satellite imagery, drones, ground based sensors, GSP systems and agri-robots to control the planting, growth and harvesting of crops. The traditional method of crop management involves blanket application of herbicides, pesticides and fertilizer, while PF makes use of automation and artificial intelligence to precisely control the amounts of fertilizer, herbicide and insecticide applied to crops, with resultant increased yield and greatly reduced use of the above. PF also reduces the energy used by agricultural machinery by directing action only where it is needed and focusing activities on specific areas only.

Continue reading… “Electric powered farm vehicles set to revolutionise agriculture sector”

0

Blockchains’s impact on food and farming, explained

97702F91-8264-4CA3-9FF5-1F72B9740F69

1. Is it possible to track where food comes from?

Several companies have launched services allowing shoppers to see a product’s journey from farm to fork, but they often depend on retailers agreeing to be transparent.

When you pop into a store to buy fresh fruit, vegetables or meat, it’s common for the packaging to reveal which country it is from. Some upmarket brands go further by offering stories about the farm and the conditions where the food was cultivated.

Tracking an item step-by-step through the manufacturing process can be hard — and, sometimes, even manufacturers and retailers themselves aren’t sure about a product’s journey.

Continue reading… “Blockchains’s impact on food and farming, explained”

0