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An increasingly viable solution for climate change is Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA), implemented across the U.S., in states likes Minnesota.
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 Minnesota:
FARIBAULT, Minn. — The lettuces and herbs at Living Greens Farm, bursting from holes in towering plastic racks, are nourished by twinkling, Christmas-colored grow lights and sprays of nutrient-rich mist. The leafy greens never touch a speck of dirt and will be chopped and bagged into grocery store salad kits moments after harvest.
This aeroponic produce-growing operation churns out produce from a small office park warehouse on the outskirts of town. It may feel like a sterile science lab, but the company's chief executive is quick to argue that growing vegetables inside doesn't make you anything less than a farmer.
"We see ourselves as farmers first, understanding the plant and what it requires, using technology to enable growers to get the most out of their genetic potential," said George Pastrana.
Living Greens is among a cadre of Midwest vegetable growers pushing fast and hard to establish and scale indoor agriculture, a burgeoning industry driven by environmental, health and economic concerns.
Like any emerging or disruptive technology, many will try and some will fail as methods are perfected. But significant investor interest suggests possibilities beyond a niche market.
More than 90 percent of the U.S. supply of lettuce and leafy greens is grown in California and Arizona. Produce cultivated indoors is a small but growing segment of the overall market, as consumer demand for fresh and healthy food continues to grow.
Proponents pitch an array of benefits: less need for land, water and fertilizer, reduced national dependence on growers in the southwest as water shortages loom, and the lower transportation costs and fuel use that stem from growing food closer to the consumers who buy it.
"There's more of these farms popping up every year," said Natalie Hoidal, an expert on vegetable farming with the University of Minnesota Extension. "Not just these big facilities but also at the nonprofit and community level — small operations interested in neighborhood-scaled food production, in getting kids involved in growing food."
A February 2021 study by Markets and Markets Research valued the indoor farming technology market at $14.5 billion in 2020 and predicted that would grow to $24.8 billion by 2026.
"Indoor farming ... is looked upon as a potential solution for the growing concern about food security in the coming years," the report's introduction reads. Certain types of produce — tomatoes, leafy greens, herbs — have been particularly amenable to growing inside.
The Owatonna-Faribault corridor along Interstate 35 in southern Minnesota has become something of a regional hot spot for indoor vegetable productions.
Just a few miles from Living Greens Farm is the Owatonna headquarters of Revol Greens, which advertises itself as the largest greenhouse lettuce operation in the U.S. The company raised $204 million in venture capital in the second half of 2020. It recently opened a greenhouse in southern California, near the heart of the field-grown greens industry, and two more are scheduled to open soon in Georgia and Texas.