What is sustainable food production?
Advances in agricultural science and technology have contributed to remarkable increases in food production since the mid-twentieth century. Global agriculture has grown 2.5–3 times over the last 50 years. This has let food production keep pace with human population growth so that, overall, there are enough calories produced per capita. However, progress toward reducing hunger is variable across the world.
- There needs to be a 70% increase in food production by year 2050.
- Due to the global wide over-irrigation problem the world’s ability to increase and expand irrigation is limited.
- Africa, will need to significantly increase in the role they play with providing food in the future.
How will the world meet its food shortage demand?
Food shortage over the coming years is a bigger issue than most understand. In 2011 GE Japan and Mirai Inc. joined together to explore a method of alternative farming that is 100% controlled and can regulate factors that agricultural farming cannot such as climate shock, natural disasters, and other growth elements. This type of farming has also shown to cut down on the primary issues of agricultural farming like water management, product waste, and energy supply. This is achieved by combining the minds of scientist, farmers, statisticians, psychologist, botanist, economist and other experts that work together to create an optimal environment for plants to grow. With the kind of knowledge being combined and the results of the current studies being proven it looks like indoor farming is one of the turns of the century that may allow the world to meet its food shortage demand.
In its current phase Japan’s indoor farm is run by specially made LED grow lights tweaked with just the right frequency allowing for the use of two fifths less power, four fifths less food waste, and a whopping 99% less water usage. All of these savings and the farm is still producing ten thousand heads of lettuce per day; that’s 100 times more than your average traditional farming methods. Additionally, the indoor method allows for growth in less than half the time cutting 45 days of outdoor growth back to as little as 12.
Currently the farm is focusing on leafy vegetables, but believe to be able to produce any plants possible; a thought they say will be explored soon. For now, they’d like to do “what makes most economic sense” and “produce fast-growing vegetables that can be sent to the market quickly,” says Shimamura, factory owner.
In addition to the LED lights there are still oxygen and humidity regulation, seeding and other various tasks to be worked by hand, but there is a projection that these too will be controlled by robots in the near future. Until then, the science and agriculture techniques used will continue to be manned by the human hand and LED lights.