An increasingly viable solution for climate change is Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA), implemented across the U.S., in states likes Colorado.
The water, energy, and food security nexus is a real and present problem.
Here are some highlights from the website of The Agrarian Group:
As a species, we face the most complex and deadly problems we have ever encountered. Erratic weather events caused by climate change destroy crop yields each year. Pesticides have ruined our soil and water scarcity has become a national security issue. 70% of food cost is linked to fossil fuels, and prices are only expected to rise. The average food item travels 1500 miles to reach it's destination. However, despite everything we do, 40% of all food in the United States is thrown away post-harvest.
The Agrarian Group was started as an answer to a question - How will we feed the projected 9.1 Billion people that will reside on earth in 2050? To achieve this, we need to increase our already stressed agricultural production by 70%. How do we grow better?
Agtech solutions can help solve the challenges we face.
Here is an example of Agtech Solutions in Colorado:
DENVER — Inside a classroom in a Denver school, there is much more than desks, white boards, students and teachers. An entire hydroponic farm is growing alongside the minds of teenagers at Bruce Randolph School.
Bruce Randolph school serves sixth through twelfth grades in the Globeville, Elyria-Swansea, Cole and Whittier neighborhoods in Denver. Named after “Daddy” Bruce Randolph, the school aims to carry on his work to help feed and serve those in need.
“The mission of our school is to give back and for our students to be positive contributors to their community,” said Melissa Boyd, the school's principal. “This is one amazing way that they can do this over and over again, not just on one day and for one community service project.”
Through partnerships with urban-gro — a company focused on indoor controlled environment agriculture — as well as the nonprofit Teens for Food Justice, Colorado State University and a grant, the school was able to bring the hydroponic farm into its natural resource room. This is where students can help grow all sorts of food like lettuce, kale, chiles and more.
“Everything here is, like, natural and most of the stuff we can take home,” said one student who said their dream was to become a chef and found learning about growing natural food incredibly helpful toward that goal. “It just kind of feels like you're connected with everything.”
A hydroponic farm produces food in a controlled, soilless setting. A farm like this can be set up in various different ways, including in a classroom, but the result is the same — more connection and control to what is being produced.
“The impact is immediate,” said Katherine Soll, co-founder of Teens for Food Justice. “You are planting these seeds. You're growing the food. Five weeks later, you're harvesting the produce, and you're consuming it.”
Soll said this farm is so important to kids who can learn from doing, instead of just reading about it. Soll added that the farm gives students hands-on workforce development experience, too. The teachers involved say there is so much growth in this one classroom beyond the plants growing on the shelves.
“[There is] magic and potential and friendship and of course, plants,” said Sarah Peterson, the science team lead with Bruce Randolph School. “It's a space that students get to grow all those things together and grow their relationships with us as their teachers and with each other. They get to ... make mistakes and learn how to be a part of a process that's bigger than them.”
Each month this hydroponic farm at Bruce Randolph school is expected to produce nearly 1,000 pounds of fresh produce. All that food is either going to the kids in the class or in a tent outside of school where families can take some as they pick up their kids.