The Future of Farming, Controlling the Environment

Famine… or feast? Soil… or hydroponics, aquaponics, aquaculture or aeroponics? Nine billion hungry human beings will be living on planet Earth by 2050, according to United Nations estimates. “We will need to produce more food in the first half of this century than we did in the previous 100 centuries combined,” declared Tony Kajewski, an engineering manager at John Deere and president of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

Along with an increasing population, the world faces climate change, rising fossil fuel prices, ecosystem degradation, and water and land scarcity — all of which are making today’s food production methods increasingly unsustainable, according to “Latest Agricultural Technology Innovation,” a November 2012 report from Kachan & Co. There’s an upside to all this flux and food insecurity, however. The need for solutions is driving important new agricultural innovations — in particular, urban agriculture and indoor cultivation. Farming has migrated from the fields to the cities and moved into the developed environment.

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