How Are We Going To Feed Everyone?

Food security is a big deal nowadays. Everyone, most publicly the UN, is trying to fix it.

The UN is projecting that by 2050, there will be 9 billion people on this planet, while that 40% of todays arable land will disappear. This is a scary proposition and many countries around the world are actively implementing policies to get around the problem. The Chinese are buying up farm land all around the globe, as are Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE et al.

So where is all this extra food coming to come from? Well, there are many new exciting technologies / methodologies that are being done right now that will allow us to feed everyone with ease, and probably still have a huge surplus.

One technology that has me especially excited is the Omega Garden System. The Omega Garden System is an amazing little contraption. It works basically like this, the seedlings are planted around a cylindrical metal container that constantly rotates around a UV lamp in the centre. In this manner, all the plants growing get an even amount of UV light, something which does when growing on farmland. As the cylinder is constantly rotating, the plants are having to right themselves against gravity 24 hours a day, forcing them to use more nutrients and grow faster, stronger and more nutritious.

In this manner, the fruits & vegetables are grown in a fraction of the time, with a fraction of the water required (as none of it is wasted in the surrounding soil, as there is none) and a fraction of the space with none of the pesky insects either. If that’s not the future of food, then I don’t know what is.

Another example comes from the Netherlands, a company called Plantlab has created an entire underground farm lit up by the blue / red spectrum lights tailored to the plant itself, such that it instigates the fastest growth. It turns out that certain wavelengths of light are more effective than others in allowing plants to grow, and this farm aims to provide the perfect conditions in every respect in order to get us the food we need faster, with less energy used and no pesticides to boot. It looks almost like a night club save for the herbs and fruits everywhere. It also uses 90% less water than traditional above ground farming which is going to be a life saver in the not-to-distant future.

Above ground farming is surprisingly inefficient, from the water run off, soil depletion, beholden to nature’s cycles, inability to grow in the night, vast expanses of land and the need for all the machinery to plow, seed, and harvest. That’s all going to change with indoor and underground farming, and couldn’t come at a better time.

Pretty soon, we will be able to grow any type of food locally using climate controlled, 24/7 underground / indoor farms and save all that energy we currently use shipping exotic foods from one side of the planet to the other on other productive means. This is fascinating and I can’t wait for it to become widespread. City farms are starting to crop up in major cities around the world. My home city of Sydney is the next on the list to start installing city farms. Exciting stuff.

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