Challenges we face in the 21st century:
- According to Professor Albert Barlett of the University of Colorado, "Modern agriculture is the use of land to convert petroleum into food."
- Around the globe, the amount of arable farm land has been continually shrinking while the global population continues to rise and with it the demand for food. Factor in the fact that both oil and land are diminishing at concerning rates and you have the potential for a serious problem in the not too distant future with a growing global population.
- Modern agriculture post Green Revolution (beginning in the 1940s) has greatly increased water demands but also pollution from present agricultural practices which rely on irrigation demand make this problem even more acute. Clearly, we cannot continue to grow food in the manner that we commonly do today.
One solution put forward is a method for growing food vertically in enclosed, self-contained domes that also have the potential to absorb CO2 (and generate valuable carbon credits) and locally produce mineral and nutrition-rich vegetables and fruit aeroponically. One estimate I read recently says that a one acre greenhouse has the potential to grow up to 20 times the produce an acre of land will produce using traditional methods. Since plants are not grown in soil, greenhouse facilities can be located almost anywhere. These facilities will greatly reduce the need to transport produce long distances (the average produce travels 1500 miles in the US and an apple in Canada for example, is transported more than 2500 miles) and offer the potential to reap huge returns to investors participating in the right projects.
A few companies have taken up this challenge to produce healthy and I would be interested in learning more about who they are and how they are addressing the challenge to reduce food without the use of petroleum products (fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungacides, etc.).