The future of farming

Elijah King, Reporter

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Agriculture has been around since… well forever. Beyond the hunter-gatherer, ancient Middle Eastern and Asian societies began collecting seeds and planting them, instead of seeking them out. This tiny innovation in human life allowed these civilizations to stay in one spot instead of settling, moving, and settling in hoped of finding food. After the rest of the world caught on to gardening, communities began selecting the plant characteristics they liked, and only growing the plants that had those characteristics. Next, there was animal domestication. Pigs and sheep were domesticated as early as 13,000 BC, though, besides the addition of pesticides, selective breeding, GMOs, and industrialization, nothing has really changed. These additions are important, but they’re just small tweaks in an environment and its upkeeping. We’re still dependent on land to grow plants; we’re still dependent on the forecast to harvest; we’re still dependent on animals for meat, and we as humans are still dependent on food. Welcome to the 21st century where cars are driving themselves and 360TB is smaller than your fingertip, yet we’re still letting the weather decide whether our food will grow or not? Traditional agriculture is not sustainable, and we can thank Adderall chugging Silicon Valley-ites for a solution.

The first being indoor mist farms (vertically-integrated aeroponics to be technically correct). Windows? No. Rain? No. Sustainable? Yes. These ‘farms’ have towers and towers of vegetables growing inside previously abandoned warehouses, using recycled substrate materials in substitution of soil, red and blue LEDs instead of sunlight, and computer automated mist cycles that provide the plants with just enough water and nutrients to grow healthily. Such ‘farms’ use 95% less water than traditional farms to grow 75% more produce in 12 days, whereas a traditional farm would take 45. With no pests or changes in climate, the outside has no influence on the closed system, meaning the vegetables are GMO-free and organic. Those who used to be farmers are now engineers.

The future of farming also depends on the future of food consumption. For a completely unnatural approach to sustainability, we can rely on Soylent. Ironically, Soylent is named after Soylent Green (a 1973 sci-fi movie about an unknown food compound that turns out to be made of humans, but society chooses to ignore the food source because it is a healthy alternative to traditional food, tastes really good, and is convenient for their busy lives). Soylent is a compound of chemicals dissolved in water to mimic the essential nutrients needed to live. Vitamins, protein, calcium, etc. are all blended up and poured into a pretty little bottle. Some of the ingredients are naturally extracted from organic plants while others are synthetic. Soylent is has been approved by dietitians as a sustainable alternative to food, which is good news. Instead of wasting time going to the store or a restaurant to buying food then eating it, you can just drink four bottles of this meal replacement. It’s healthy. It’s tasty. It’s convenient.

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The future of farming