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Farming

Researchers are looking at introducing sea cucumbers to fish farms, where they could clean...

Marine net-pen fish farms aren’t popular with environmentalists for a number of reasons, one of the main ones being the amount of fish feces and uneaten food that they release into the surrounding ocean. In the UK, help for that problem may be coming in the form of the sea cucumber. Despite its name, the sea cucumber is an animal, that resembles a big slug and is about the same size as ... well, as a cucumber, or sometimes larger. Given that sea cukes subsist on organic matter that they scavenge from the sea floor, scientists at Newcastle University have proposed that they be introduced to fish farms where they could process waste. After eating all that fish poop, some of the cucumbers could then be served up as gourmet cuisine for humans.  Read More

CSIRO Livestock Industries scientist, Dr Caroline Lee, monitoring cattle behavior at Armid...

It’s well known that happy workers of the human variety are also productive workers, and farmers know that the same holds true for animals. However, because animals aren’t likely to reveal their emotional state on a psychiatrist’s couch, the current methods to measure animals’ wellbeing has largely focused on biological indicators of stress via blood tests or through studies of animal behavior. Now researchers are looking to use cognitive principles based on human psychological theories to assess animal emotions.  Read More

US scientists have mapped 90 percent of the domestic turkey genome

In the past few months, we’ve received announcements regarding the mapped genomes of wheat, of apples, and even the repulsive human body louse. Now, researchers from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have sequenced 90 percent of the genome of Meleagris gallopavo, which you may know as the domestic turkey.  Read More

Aerofarms' aeroponic system

With increasing pressure on global food supplies requiring ever more intelligent use of technology, urbanized vertical aeroponic methods are shaping up as a promising alternative to traditional farming. Aeroponics requires less space, less water and no pesticides and the AeroFarms system takes things further by using LEDs in stacked units to maximize efficiency and use of available space.  Read More

Can the Earth sustain 9 billion people? We'll find out in the next 50 years.

We're living in lucky times. Living standards - in the Western world, at least - are the highest in history. It's an era of relative peace and plenty that would amaze our ancestors. But it's not going to continue forever; we're already stretching many of our natural resources to their limits, and the world's population will jump from 6.5 billion to around 9 billion over the next 50 years. Get ready for a painful correction - here are four interconnected resources that are headed for a catastrophic squeeze within our lifetime.  Read More

Cauliflowers and other produce could soon be picked by robots

Researchers in the U.K. are working at turning newly developed imaging technology into an intelligent harvesting machine. Using microwave measurement, the system can look beneath the leafy layers of a crop, identify the differing materials, and enable precise size identification. Such a machine could minimize wastage in crops like cauliflower and solve an impending labor shortage for U.K. farmers caused by a fall in the number of migrant workers.  Read More

Gizcast #9: can Vertical Farming solve the impending global food crisis?

In this week's Gizcast, we're privileged to be joined by Dr. Dickson Despommier of New York City, who is perhaps the world's leading expert on Vertical Farming, a topic we've covered several times in the past few years. Dr. Despommier speaks with Loz Blain about the social, economic and environmental issues we'll have to face as the Earth's population jumps to 9 billion in the next 40-50 years. If we keep farming the way we are now, we're simply going to run out of land to feed ourselves - so the solution seems clear: we need to start bringing food production and agriculture into the high-rise age. The farms of the future, it seems, will be skyscrapers. Geoffrey Baird also joins us for a weekly roundup of top stories.  Read More

Artists impression of a VES in New York

Demand for office and housing space in ever diminishing land space has led to taller and taller buildings reaching for the skies in cities around the world. This shortage of land in many cities has unfortunately also led to a scarcity of natural vegetation in urban settings. We’ve looked at several vertical-farming concepts - dedicated buildings that provide space to grow crops in city centers - but a new architectural system from Vertical Landscapes (VL) seeks to invite nature back into our cities on a broader scale. The architectural system transforms buildings into columns of vegetation to add a much needed touch of green, help clean the city air and possibly even produce small scale crops, all while retaining the building’s usual use for office or housing space.  Read More

Plantagon's spherical design optimises conditions throughout the year.

While perhaps not as architecturally ambitious as the Dragonfly concept we looked at last week, this urban farming design from Swedish-American company Plantagon has the same environmentally-friendly ambitions along with a distinctly eye-catching design of its own.  Read More

The vertical farm concept will be located on New York City's Rossevelt Island

Building another skyscraper in the middle of New York may not seem like an environmentally-sound project. That is of course, unless said skyscraper is capable of providing a sprawling urban populous with self-sustaining production of food, reuse of natural resources and biodegradeable waste. Enter The Dragonfly, a dazzling, ethereal design from Vincent Callebaut Architectures which underlines the future potential of vertical farming.  Read More

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