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Indoor farming may solve world food problem

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 12 April 2011

Farming is moving indoors, where the sun never shines, where rainfall is irrelevant and where the climate is always right.

Indoor rice field in Tokyo.

The perfect crop field could be inside a windowless building with meticulously controlled light, temperature, humidity, air quality and nutrition. It could be in a New York high-rise, a Siberian bunker or a sprawling complex in the Saudi desert.

Advocates say this, or something like it, may be the answer to the world’s food problems.

“In order to keep a planet that’s worth living on, we have to change our methods,” says Gertjan Meeuws of PlantLab, a private research company.

The world is already having trouble feeding itself. Half the people on earth live in cities, and nearly half of those – about 3 billion – are hungry or malnourished.

Food prices, currently soaring, are buffeted by droughts, floods and the cost of energy required to plant, fertilise, harvest and transport produce.

And prices will only get more unstable. Climate change makes long-term crop planning uncertain.

Farmers in many parts of the world already are draining available water resources to the last drop.

And the world is getting more crowded: by mid-century, the global population will grow from 6.8 billion to 9 billion, the UN predicts.

To feed so many people may require expanding farmland at the expense of forests and wilderness, or finding ways to radically increase crop yields. Continue reading Indoor farming may solve world food problem