True Systemic Thinking In AgriTech
When growing soy, the desired end product is the beans. This fact creates an interesting question - what to do with the rest of the plant? In a controlled environment agriculture system, this takes on a special significance, since there is nowhere for any 'waste' to go. But what if we could find a use for it?
What if, for example, we could feed the waste to black soldier fly larvae. What if we then fed those larvae to fish and then, in turn, used the fish waste as nutrients for the plants. Maybe some of the plant waste could also be used as (part of) a substrate for mushroom growing too.
These ideas form the basis of High Tech Ecosystem Farming (HTEF). Put simply, the idea is to link together separate growing systems, on the basis of making outputs from one system into inputs for another.
The goal is to create an ecosystem of growing systems.
In nature, ecosystems have the tendency to find a kind
of natural equilibrium - a balance in which all the independent parts are ultimately interdependent with one another. The monocultural agriculture we have developed takes almost the exact opposite of this approach. This has led directly to many of the problems with our current food and farming systems.
This is the problem that HTEF sets out to address. We've already had lots of interesting discussions with many different people about this. But we're always interested in more, and in making real progress on developing this kind of approach. If you can help us with that, then please do drop us a line!
But that's not enough...
Just growing soy in VF, though a brilliant idea, is not going to be enough to do the job - there's a whole bunch of other stuff we're going to have to do as well! See below for some examples of that
A rapidly growing population and the lifting of millions out of poverty in the developing world, means a fast growing future demand for protein. We know that this cannot be addressed through meat alone, due to the harms caused by factory farming. Alternative proteins offer, well, an alternative!
High-Tech Ecosystem Farming (HTEF) is the idea and practice of linking together different controlled environment modules, into an ecosystem. The goal is to
facilitate the flow of resource and waste streams between modules, to maximise efficiency, sustainability and systemic resilience
The circular economy is about abandoning the previously established take-make-waste system and replacing it with systems that reuse & recycle resources. Energy use is a major component of both sustainability and cost for CEA, so the circular model is the way we need to go!