Agriculture as we know it is doomed. Looming shortages of Phosphates and Potash will shortly make any other form of agriculture impossible. It is already rapidly being replaced by new aquaponic/hydroponic farming allowing massive gains in the food supplies of mankind. The produce crops on demand, on time using a fraction of minerals and water needed for standard farms. Mineral demand is decreased by a factor of 100 or more, and water demand by a factor of up 10,000. This new age technology is already massively used in the EU region where nearly 1/3 of all vegetable demand is satisfied by growing under artificial lighting, and when natural, seasonal lighting is not ideal for crops, this lighting is employed to meet human demands. The costs of labor and the demands of automation have paved the way for the development of a technology of growing crops without soil or sunlight.
The Urban Green University is on the cutting edge of hands on education, and is developing devices, methods and a production structure for this industry. Land including residential, non-profit and church sites that might otherwise be useless, is extraordinarily suited for farming and providing hands on training to members of the community. The result is a self-sustaining community.
Aquaponics/Hydroponics was developed in the early 1940’s to a fairly refined science and has seen refinements on a continuous basis. Today it is approximately 1/100th as demanding of minerals as a standard cropland model with water demand so low as to be insignificant. For example, lettuce produced on farmland requires nearly 200,000 gallons of water per head vs. 2 gallons for hydroponically raised lettuce. By using artificial illumination, the entire process can be done pesticide free and entirely on a factory production schedule. Demand can be anticipated and supplied as it arises.
Because Aquaponics/Hydroponics is economically superior to standard farming methods, tomatoes and other vegetables are being moved to this farming system rapidly. There is little to zero excess production, higher quality output and as mentioned earlier, no seasonal variations. Another great advantage is that the process can be stacked vertically, allowing as seen in Western Spain and Portugal, some crops to be stacked in a 40 story building, with some crops as many as 20 layers to the story. This method allows for the production 8000 acres of output with a building covering a land space of 10 acres.
Massive efficiencies in planting, care and harvesting have been realized through the implementation of this method. For example, strawberry production can be conveyor managed to allow the pickers to be stationary in a comfortable position and to work like an assembly line. Hand labor jobs are easily automated and this all becomes a very impressive production machine. The efficiency is compounded by the reduction of transportation costs. The crop can literally be produced where it is consumed or within a few miles at most of the consumer markets. Quality of product can be absolutely controlled creating greater consumer demand and greater consumer confidence in the product. There are no pesticides generally, and as such, consumers view the product as superior due to freshness, appearance and flavor.
As this process progresses the automation of the process will make way for highly automated facilities and increase the need to employ robotic devices not currently in use, but as the field grows, so will the need for highly skilled developers.
The Urban Green University has established itself in an area north of the Trinity and will be able to serve most of South Dallas, which is well over 3 million people. And with the great water supply it already has, we can easily see this number double within a short period of time. The anticipated population growth makes it a great opportunity for students interested in artificial lighting, robotics and production management.
To find out more about the Urban Green University, you may visit them on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/theugu/ or you may contact the President at firstname.lastname@example.org
By: Arielle Johnson