Tech guru Eliseo Delgado Jr. keeps up with key topics in the scientific field and breaks them down in layman’s terms for online readers. Here, he shares some of the technologies that have had the biggest impact on the food-growing industry, revolutionizing how we produce vital resources.
With the world population on a steep rise, Eliseo Delgado Jr. believes it’s future tech advances that will ensure we can provide food for all global citizens. Already, scientists have begun to change the way we grow and distribute a range of fruits, vegetables, and herbs, namely because of more sophisticated farming techniques being employed around the world.
“Organic produce was the first big craze that made people start to think of alternative ways to grow food without the use of herbicides and pesticides,” says Eliseo Delgado Jr. “From that came indoor farms and a few key technologies that made this new wave of mass production possible.”
1. Controlled-Environment Area (CEA) Technology
Eliseo Delgado Jr. notes that the first step towards sustainable indoor growing was to replicate each plants’ environment in a warehouse or laboratory. With the help of CEA technology, farmers can create optimal growing conditions for their crops without having to rely on seasons and natural weather patterns. Like greenhouse buildings, those structures with CEA technology typically rely on hydroponic methods of water and nutrient supply.
2. Vertical Farming
Once they learned how to take plants out of their environments and plant them wherever they like, farmers and scientists had to think up ways to mass grow produce in contained environments like warehouses. These lacked open fields, but farmers could distribute their plants in various stacked layers to make up for lost real estate. These structures, called vertical farming units, could take on many fields’ worth of crops in a space such as a lab, shipping container, or any climate-controlled room.
3. Artificial Lighting
While some nutrients could be delivered through water systems directly to plant roots, they still required sunlight as a vital component to grow. Indoor farmers overcame this obstacle with LED light technology, which quickly phased out fluorescent lighting. They’ve now gone a step further to produce pink light–a combination of red and blue LED lights–to help crops grow successfully. The blue light influences phototropism while plants’ phytochromes absorb the red light.
4. See & Spray Technology
Blue River Technology are the pioneers of See & Spray, which is a system that relies on robotics, cameras, and artificial intelligence to quickly and accurately target any weeds or poor plant development. With up to 98% accuracy, the technology cuts down the time it takes farmers to pick through crops for poor growths or weeds, lessens the resources needed, and increases the delivery speed (thanks to robots and drones).
“We’ve begun to implement these technologies on a massive scale in multiple countries, catapulting our ability to provide non-genetically modified foods to people everywhere,” says Eliseo Delgado Jr.