|Artists rendering of the new Nikkei vegetable growing system from Panasonic.||(Image via TechCrunch)|
It seems that lately food trends have been moving in the low-tech direction. Slow food, local, organic, grass-fed, heritage, biodynamic - all sorts of words describing us basically getting back to our roots with regards to growing produce and farming animals. Mostly I'm inclined to think this is a good thing. There is all sorts of evidence to show that many aspects of the modern industrial-agricultural complex are harming our environment and hurting our bodies. However, we can't go back to the way we farmed food 100 years ago without creating a shortage of food for our current ever-increasing population. What's the fix?
One way could be to blend modern technology with old farming practices. For example, growing organic heritage greens in a high-tech rooftop garden. I discovered one company, Gotham Greens, doing something similar. This company is growing local vegetables and herbs for restaurants and consumers in Brooklyn, New York City, in a high-tech hydroponic rooftop garden set up in an abandoned bowling alley. Also recently, Panasonic introduced a new product for people who desire to grow vegetables, indoors or our, at home with a super high-tech system that allows users to monitor vegetable growth and manage the garden using a cloud-based computing system. Right now the system is prohibitively expensive for most people at around $8000, but if there is enough demand for this type of technology, every home could soon have its own high-tech victory garden, helping the effort in the war on carbon-footprints and fossil fuel dependence.