National Geographic recently predicted that by 2050, there would be more than two billion additional mouths to feed By 2050. However, the Earth’s irrigable land remains essentially the same, so feeding this ever-growing population is getting harder and harder. Vertical farming seems to be a critical tool for feeding them – and without the massive carbon footprint that comes with shipping food from distant farms.
Plenty, an ag-tech startup in San Francisco co-founded by Nate Storey, has been able to increase its productivity and production quality by using artificial intelligence and its new farming strategy. The company’s farm farms take up only 2 acres yet produce 720 acres worth of fruit and vegetables. In addition to their impressive food production, they also manage the production with robots and artificial intelligence.
The company says their farm produces about 400 times more food per acre than a traditional farm. It uses robots and AI to monitor water consumption, light, and the ambient temperature of the environment where plants grow. Over time, the AI learns how to grow crops faster with better quality.
While this is great for food quality, it also helps conserve resources. The water is recycled and evaporated water recaptured so there is virtually no waste. The Startup estimates that this smart farm is so efficient that it produces better fruits and vegetables using 95% less water and 99% less land than normal farming operations.
In addition to increasing production, the technology eliminates the need for pesticides, and you no longer need to worry about bad weather. You can produce plants of other seasons, and the carbon footprint of transportation will be removed from the natural cycle. External factors that affect traditional agriculture have no effect on the vertical farming method. This solution offers the best solution and aims to improve the quality of food and use less resources.
Nate Story, the co-founder, and chief scientific officer of Startup Plenty, believes that vertical farming and the technology being tested at the company have significant benefits for the world.
Plenty will soon expand to 430 stores in California and hopes to set up more vertical farms both domestically and in other states. The climate-controlled vertical farms that are so promising, they have drawn $400 million in funding from former Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Amazon‘s Jeff Bezos, and SoftBank.