Concerns that COVID-19 could lead to food shortages have caused many countries to examine their agricultural systems. The nation of Georgia, in the Caucasus, is 70 per cent self-sufficient in vegetables, but only 8 per cent so in wheat. Since 2016, a project called Greelands.GE has focused on sustainable land management. It encourages Georgian farmers to practice crop rotation and inter-cropping, which will both increase yields and reduce the risk of crop failure. The project has been implemented by the United Nations Environment Program, but draws heavily on local knowledge and native seeds.

Key Takeaways:

  • The country is very good at farming vegetables but wheat production sees a lot of failure in Georgia.
  • The new solution will be trying crop rotation and inter-cropping as a way to increase the odds of successful crops.
  • Planting multiple crops can make sure that while some crops fail, others succeed which means that no land will go to waste in the way it was before.

“Due to climatic and landscape conditions, as well as unsustainable agricultural practices, more than a third of agricultural land is affected by degradation, erosion, pollution and soil damage. Around 4 per cent of farmland is vulnerable to desertification.”

Read more: https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2020/06/14/georgia-pushes-to-bolster-its-food-security/

AeroFarms has joined forces with the World Economic Forum in order to create one of the nation’s first municipal projects in vertical farming. Mayor of New Jersey, Steven Fulop, has spoken out about how the current pandemic has made food accessibility a high priority, and vertical farming has great potential in this endeavor. Diet is directly linked to life expectancy, and New Jersey residents having access to fresh vegetables will provide them with the opportunity for much more nutrient-rich diets.

Key Takeaways:

  • Jersey City has partnered with a farming company to start a vertical farming project.
  • The initiative will ensure that citizens have access to free healthy food.
  • The idea is to help people struggling, especially due to the coronavirus, and promote healthy eating.

“The 10 sites will grow 19,000 pounds of vegetables annually using water mist and minimal electricity.”

Read more: https://www.tapinto.net/towns/jersey-city/articles/innovative-vertical-farming-initiative-to-bring-almost-10-tons-of-fresh-vegetables-to-jersey-city-annually

Hydroponic farming is a revolutionary way of farming, allowing farmers to grow food without the assistance of soil and natural light. They do this by planting their crops in blocks of perlite or rockwool, and utilizing artificial lighting as opposed to natural lighting. The goal was to initial reduce the prevalence of hunger and related food shortages, but now families are actually financially supporting themselves through the hydroponic farming process by selling the produce they’ve grown.

Key Takeaways:

  • During a trip to Sweden, Ugandan Amon Makihako fell in love with the idea of hydroponic gardening.
  • Makihako’s organization made hydroponic equipment more available and offered training on its operation.
  • Aquaponic, aeroponic and vegetable systems are the major categories within hydroponic farming.

“It enables people to grow food without soil and natural light”

Read more: https://chimpreports.com/hydroponic-farming-a-hidden-solution-for-the-vulnerable-urban-poor/

A local agricultural organization that specializes in low carbon production has claimed that there may soon be 150 new sustainable positions open for Wrexham residents and surrounding applicants. Two large greenhouses will be built, as well as a packaging facility. The goal is for the plants to capture not only carbon emissions, but waste heat as well. Within these greenhouses, the owners plan to grow produces such as tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers for increased low carbon produce options.

Key Takeaways:

  • A new plan has Wrexham hosting a greenhouse project that would provide more jobs.
  • The aim would be to grow peppers and tomatoes in a green way on the site, using hydroponics to cut down on water.
  • If approved, the construction would begin in the spring of next year.

“The structures, similar in design to two world first projects currently in construction in East Anglia, would capture both waste heat and carbon emissions from the Dwr Cymru facility and use them to grow significant quantities of low carbon fresh produce on site.”

Read more: https://www.business-live.co.uk/economic-development/hydroponic-greenhouses-scheme-near-wrexham-18390591

A Pittsburgh-based vertical farming and technology company, Fifth Season, recently announced a partnership with NHL legend Mario Lemieux. With the new partnership, the innovative company plans to expand their production to a large solar-powered vertical farm. Not only does this new type of agriculture save space, but Fifth Season is utilizing artificial intelligence to care for each of their plants, resulting in higher yield. Retailers like Whole Foods and Giant Eagle are two of the largest purchasers of this company’s produce.

Key Takeaways:

  • Fifth Season uses techniques like robotics and vertical farming to grow food in a new way.
  • It has partnered with Mario Lemieux as part of its initiative for expansion.
  • The company is also starting its first commercial farm to provide even more food to grocery stores and restaurants.

“The company has also launched a new e-commerce website with expanded product offerings and all products shipping from Fifth Season’s newly-opened indoor vertical farm.”

Read more: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200611005170/en/Season-Opens-Flagship-Farm-Partners-NHL-Hall

As public areas are reopening after pandemic closures, gardens in Pennsylvania are unsure of exactly when it will be business as usual. So far, these gardens are limiting the number of visitors and using protective measures like face masks and plexiglass shields to protect their staff. With the looser restrictions coming into play, many of these gardens plan to maintain as many preventative measures as possible to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, while still allowing people to enjoy nature’s beauty.

Key Takeaways:

  • Public gardens in PA are insituting social distancing measures as a response to the pandemic.
  • Each public garden is taking its own measures, but many are keeping cafes closed and limiting visitors.
  • Some gardens remain closed because they’re not considered essential in their counties.

“As Pennsylvania’s shutdown rules ripen from yellow to green, public gardens are springing to visitation life again – but with a bouquet of virus-protecting changes.”

Read more: https://www.pennlive.com/gardening/2020/06/as-pa-blooms-from-yellow-to-green-what-will-be-the-new-normal-way-to-visit-public-gardens.html

Ohio State’s Global Water Institute in conjunction with other organizations are starting a program that will bring improve sustainable water access in Tanzanian communities. Their first program will attempt to fix wells in 125 villages in hopes of creating clean water and economic prosperity lifting people out of poverty and malnutrition. Their program includes a full plan for maintenance system so that people in the community can have jobs and build businesses similar to first world countries.

Key Takeaways:

  • A program from Ohio State University is working with several companies and the Tanzanian government to bring sustainable water to more people.
  • Soon, they hope to provide over a million Tanzanians with access to sustainable water.
  • The plan is to also bring education to these people to enable their own development in the future.

“Their pilot project will replace broken water wells in 125 Tanzanian villages with sustainable village water systems that include water, sanitation, renewable energy and linkages to economic opportunities.”

Read more: https://globalwater.osu.edu/our-work/sustainable-village-water-systems/

Experts predict that within the next 10 to 15 years, vertical farming will be the dominant form of agriculture. Given that trends within the last of 5 years indicate an exponential increase in vertical farming, this prediction seems to be accurate. Vertical farming has many advantages, such as increased global production of food, low cost, and high quality products. Now more than ever and due to the coronavirus pandemic, vertical farming is even thought to attract many people and organizations such as governments and investors.

Key Takeaways:

  • A recent webinar suggested that vertical farming will become more ubiquitous in the future.
  • Some experts believe that technology has finally reached the point where it can support the dreams of past visionaries.
  • The coronavirus pandemic has shown how important government and investor support is to the future of farming.

“Of course the elephant in the room wasn’t ignored by the panel. COVID-19 has had an impact on all industries, and vertical farms are no exception.”

Read more: https://www.hortidaily.com/article/9222334/the-road-ahead-for-vertical-farming/

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic a University study has shown that the UK has become dependent on just two countries for their imports of vegetables and fruits. Hopefully, there will be new information that will allow the U.K. to return to normal but as of now we don’t have more information. People from the U.K. may find that the prices of healthy foods might be higher for a while until more food can be imported without fear.

Key Takeaways:

  • Recently, a new study underwent to decide how the Covid19 virus was impacting the U.K.
  • The study uncovered a very unsettling truth about the UKs current food supply, particularly as it applies to fresh produce.
  • The study, compiled by university research, found that the U.K. is heavily dependent for some of its produce, due to lacking interior sources.

“The UK has been left “dangerously dependent” on just two EU countries for its fresh vegetable imports”

Read more: https://www.hortweek.com/university-study-finds-uk-dangerously-dependent-fruit-veg-imports/fresh-produce/article/1685077

Controlled environment agriculture (CEA) is crop production within an enclosed structure, and it is growing fast in the US. CEA includes vertical farming, the market for which is projected to reach $3 billion by 2024. CEA requires fewer chemicals, a smaller growing area, and less water than traditional farming. Its lone ecological drawback is energy usage, lighting in particular. Right now, legal marijuana cultivation in the US consumes enough electricity to power over 90,000 homes. In response, the non-profit DesignLights Consortium is trying to incentivize high performance, efficient lighting, including the widespread adoption of commercial LED grow lights.

Key Takeaways:

  • In less than two decades approximately 10 million acres of U.S. farmland has been lost to development.
  • With so much acreage lost to other uses, the face of U.S. agriculture is changing. Crops are being grown in stacked layers, within enclosed structures.
  • This concept, known as Controlled Environment Agriculture, is a profitable system, projected to reach a 3 billion share within the next five years.

“Acknowledging that biggest culprit in this equation is the intense lighting needed for effective indoor horticulture, the DOE report referenced above stated that switching to all light-emitting diode (LED) technology could reduce electricity usage in the vertical farming sector alone by 40 percent, saving approximately $240 million”

Read more: https://emagazine.com/greener-lights-for-green-growers/