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/

Two years ago, researchers from Singapore University of Technology and Design developed a strong, affordable, biodegradable bioplastic made from cellulose and chitin. Cellulose comes from plant cell walls, while chitin is found in the exoskeletons of crustaceans. The researchers propose using black soldier flies as the source of chitin. Larvae could be grown on food waste and then processed to extract chitin. In this manner, the bioplastic (called FLAM) could be made wholly from human-generated food and cellulosic waste. FLAM can be 3D-printed to mass-produce objects that, at the end of their usage, could be broken down to recover the cellulose and chitin.

Key Takeaways:

  • New research shows that soldier flies can be used to transform trash into sustainable plastic.
  • There is a type of sustainable plastic made from cellulose, found in plants, and chitin, found in insects.
  • One proposed method allows soldier fly larvae to eat cellulose from trash, and then processes them to add the cellulose and chitin together.

“Humans create about 2 million tons of solid waste every year, with urban residents generating four times as much as those in rural areas. About 60 percent of that garbage is organic matter from food, vegetables, and garden waste, while another 30 percent is paper, cardboard, textiles, and other cellulosic materials.”

Read more: https://anthropocenemagazine.org/2020/03/67853/

AgroScout has completed a $3 million investment for its AI-based solution for sustainable crop protection. Currently, agronomists perform manual, visual checks to mitigate the spread of disease in crop fields. AgroScout’s new solution integrates drone-collected data to autonomously perform the same work. The system uses low-cost equipment, such as smartphones and small drones, making it affordable for farmers. Pilot projects are set to run in various locations across the globe. AgroScout’s CEO called the investment a “vote of confidence in our technology and approach.”

Key Takeaways:

  • A company has completed the investment round for its new AI crop protection model.
  • The technology uses drones, an AI system, and more to pinpoint many different problems in a field.
  • The new system is affordable and will allow farmers to attack problems with their crops earlier.

“Using less pesticides lowers costs and meets increasing regulation and consumer demand for more sustainable agricultural practices.”

Read more: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/agroscout-closes-3-million-funding-110000906.html

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has relaxed enforcement of environmental regulations due to the Corona virus pandemic. Brenda Osthus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln said that despite this the university will still meet their environmental requirements. She regrets that the agency is compromising on regulations now because of the virus because it will cause problems in the future due to increased global warming and pollution. She also states that switching over to more sustainable energy will be difficult if traditional methods are cheap and unregulated.

Key Takeaways:

  • While the EPA has reduced some regulations due to the coronavirus pandemic, this is not likely to affect UNL.
  • However, relaxation of regulations might have negative effects on the environment in the long term.
  • UNL is committed to keeping its standards high and wants to make sure that the coronavirus and the environment don’t affect anyone.

“UNL has several permits it has to keep up to date with the EPA, including permits with the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. However, Osthus said these permits are easier for UNL to maintain than private companies.”

Read more: http://www.dailynebraskan.com/news/unl-unaffected-by-epa-s-relaxed-regulations-maintains-sustainability-efforts/article_098f6520-7d23-11ea-95e0-7bf617bcc705.html

In recent years, there has been a huge increase in drone use in agriculture, and their popularity is ready to soar as regulation changes permit operators to use them to apply crop protection products. Drones make sense for spray applications. They can operate over fields where machines can’t normally move, fly quickly to exact locations, and can be pre-programmed for navigation. In countries such as China and India, farmers can advance directly from hand-held applicators to drones, skipping skipping over vehicle-mounted boomed machines.

Key Takeaways:

  • Drones are seeing more and more usage in farming and agriculture.
  • Drones are good for spraying because they’re fast and can be pre-programmed to target certain areas.
  • Drone spraying is increasing both in the US and internationally.

“Recent equipment introductions, and regulation changes in particular, look likely to see aerial applications by UAVs to increase substantially and quickly around the globe.”

Read more: https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2020/04/10/pesticide-spraying-drones-accelerate-sustainable-farming-as-governments-relax-regulations/

The operator of Sumo Salad at Holland Village announced on Facebook that her vegetable supplier and importer would cease operations at the end of June. The government is slated to take back the land to build housing. Mr Oh of the Oh Chin Huat Hydroponics Farm was identified as a businessman of high integrity. Unfortunately, the land needs to be clear and replanted with certain types of grass, a very expensive process (nearly S$500,000) that Mr Oh cannot afford.

Key Takeaways:

  • One hydroponics farm in Singapore is going to close at the end of June.
  • The farm provided food and excellent service to several restaurants and more.
  • The owner is retiring, and nobody in his family wants to continue farming.

“Oh had once gone the extra mile to deliver vegetables to Lee’s salad shop when they were short of vegetables at the last minute.”

Read more: https://mothership.sg/2020/06/oh-chin-huat-vegetables/

Established in 2017, Stacked Farm is an automated vertical indoor farm that grows salad greens and herbs. It has gained international interest during the coronavirus pandemic amid concerns about the food supply chain. The Queensland-based company plans to open farms across Australia, and is also looking at moving into retail. Stacked Farm operates every month of the year thanks to its temperature-controlled environment. Its process is effective at growing food in extreme climates, and interest is especially high in places like Dubai, where nearly all food is imported.

Key Takeaways:

  • Stacked Farm is an automated vertical farm, located in Australia that produces salad greens and has the capacity to produce strawberries and tomatoes.
  • Besides being fully automated, the produce is picked, packed and sealed by robotic equipment. A notable plus in the era of Covid19.
  • The greens go directly to wholesalers, hotels and restaurants, eliminating middle-men handling of produce.

“Aussie company Stacked Farm, a fully automated vertical indoor farm, has been gaining international interest amid the coronavirus pandemic.”

Read more: https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/aussie-vertical-farm-company-gained-053418762.html

Poughkeepsie-based Farmers & Chefs likes to showcase the freshest produce of the region through its food trucks and brick-and-mortar restaurant. Owner John Lekic has recently taken to growing his own vegetables and herbs using a shipping container growing system bought from an Israeli company. The vertical garden is climate controlled and uses automated watering. The system requires 90 percent less water than traditional farming, and no pesticides are needed. Currently, Lekic is growing kale, lettuce, thyme, arugula, sage and dill.

Key Takeaways:

  • For one chef who wanted to grow his own food, vertical farming was the solution.
  • A shipping container in a parking lot can grow food in up to eight different areas.
  • The vertical farm grows food faster, requires less water, and can grow year-round.

“Short on space in the small parking lot behind the Farmers and Chefs building, which already holds the two food trucks, it occurred to Lekic that the only way to grow was up.”

Read more: https://www.chronogram.com/hudsonvalley/farmers-and-chefs-takes-farm-fresh-to-new-heights-with-vertical-gardens/Content?oid=10707137

A new farmer is using social media to his biggest advantage. The farmer is leveraging Pinterest and Youtube to learn what he needs to know. He is finding that this is saving him money because he is avoiding mistakes and learning tips and tricks others have learned over their time farming. He is approaching a phase where he will be fully operational. He will make use of his new found kills on his 8-hectare property.

Key Takeaways:

  • Youtube and Pinterest are teaching a newly minted farmer how to do his craft.
  • The farmer says that the education on the systems is showing him how to save thousands of dollars and shortcut the learning curve
  • He has a 8-hectare property where he will practice and apply his craft.

Quote: “Mr Anderson’s vertical farming set-up is made from four pallets turned upside down, stacked about 40 centimetres apart on industrial pallet racks and lined with weed matting.” (Bolton, 2020)

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2020-06-25/vertical-farming-ideas-for-peter-anderson-came-from-youtube/12383942