From laboratory-grown meat to insect protein, lab-grown milk and mushrooms, fresh salads, and processed foods made with algae or yeast, we are experiencing new methods of producing food. The techno-agrarian revolution is here as scientists, farmers, and entrepreneurs harness technology to reimagine what we eat and how we grow it.
Vertical farms and smart farming are becoming a reality now. In this blog, you will learn about these innovations in food production, how they can help us grow food more efficiently and sustainably, why they're important to the future of farming, and how we can get involved with their development at every level.
IoT is Disrupting Food Production
You have seen some IoT-related coverage already, but the more you learn about the topic, the more exciting its potential becomes. The Internet of Things is nothing new—in fact, it has been around for many years now. However, as time passes and technology improves, this innovative framework keeps evolving to meet new demands and solve new problems.
Problems exist in the food industry—but they are enormous and complex ones. Fortunately, IoT solutions can offer real solutions to these issues. Some might argue that society needs a complete paradigm shift to address these issues; others would say we need to embrace innovation and be prepared to change outdated practices.
Whichever camp you happen to fall into, there is no denying that IoT is disrupting food production as we know it—and from what we can see so far, these changes will be very good indeed!
Agriculture is the foundation of human civilization, and as the global population continues to expand, food production will need to increase if we are going to keep up rapidly. IoT can help farmers produce more food through increased yield, reduced waste, and increased efficiency.
IoT technology helps farmers optimize the way they produce their crops. Farmers have been collecting data on weather patterns and soil quality for years. As a result of this process, they have a good idea of when to plant and which types of crops will work best in certain climates and conditions.
With IoT providing access to even more information, farmers can focus on higher-level tasks like managing large amounts of data and predicting what factors will most affect future harvests.
Find out more about the latest innovations in the food, agritech, restaurant and grocery sectors. Click the button below to watch the replay of our "Connected Food" webinar:
Automation in Agriculture
In the field of agriculture, automation is certainly a disruptive technology. With it, farmers can now use precision farming methods and avoid human error. Automation enables higher yields through unified data collection and smart inventory management.
This results in reducing costs incurred by the farmer; how does it not? And ultimately, this allows for increased efficiency in farming processes. In other words: more food at lower prices!
We often think of huge technological advances and flashy gadgets when we think of the future. But sometimes, the best innovations are the simple ones that make life easier and more efficient.
Precision agriculture—which uses GPS and other technologies to monitor the yields in a given field—is one way to do this. It's a method that can be used on both small and large industrial farms, which means it's accessible to just about anyone interested in smart farming with a little bit of tech know-how.
Precision agriculture allows farmers to track how much fertilizer or water their plants are getting so they don't waste money on unnecessary supplies. It also reduces environmental impacts by reducing runoff from fields into the surrounding environment.
In short, precision agriculture helps farmers do their jobs better! As more people move into cities and buy their food from supermarkets instead of growing it themselves, precision agriculture is one way to ensure that everyone will have access to enough healthy food in the future.
One of the most promising techniques in the agriculture sector today is called vertical farming. It consists of stacking plants on shelves in tightly packed rows and controlling their growing environment, including humidity, temperature, lighting, and nutrients. This means food can be grown indoors in any climate.
By stacking crops vertically and using artificial lighting, vertical farms can operate year-round without losing a single day to rain or winter weather. Vertical farms also allow for more efficient use of land and water, becoming increasingly scarce resources as the world urbanizes. Vertical farms minimize both land and water usage by growing crops closer together than is possible with conventional farming methods. The tight spacing maximizes land usage while reducing water loss through evaporation.
Blockchain in the Food Industry
You can go to the supermarket and see where your food products come from. It might sound like science fiction, but it is possible, thanks to blockchain technology.
Blockchain is a decentralized ledger of transactions that verifies the authenticity and origin of data without an intermediary or central authority. The main advantage is that the information can't be modified or deleted by anyone once recorded. It provides a secure way for businesses to share sensitive information with their clients or partners without compromising its integrity. The technology also grants access to valuable insights that can help streamline operational processes and improve management decision-making.
Blockchain can be used across all agriculture sectors, from initial production stages to shipping, retailing, and consumption. For instance, farmers will be able to track data about soil conditions, humidity levels, temperature fluctuations, crop yields, and other weather conditions over time by using IoT devices connected through sensors on their farms.
Blockchain solutions are already being developed for the agriculture industry in Australia as part of an effort by IBM and its partners to use IoT technology in agriculture supply chain management.
Other Modern Farming Methods
In the case of lab-grown meat, it's a question of ethics. Do you see animal cruelty as killing animals to use their cells, or would you rather eat lab-grown meat than traditional meat? There are also pros and cons to eating lab-grown meat. As scientists continue to improve their methods, they're hoping that lab-grown meat will be cheaper than traditional meat.
The world's first lab-grown burger was created in 2013. And lab-grown meat made its debut in restaurants in 2020; the menu item was priced at $23. However, since this is the future of food production, it is likely still decades away from being adopted by the general public.
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in water with nutrients. One of the primary reasons this technique has gained popularity is because it allows people to grow food in places with poor soil conditions, like rocky areas and deserts.
It also uses less water than traditional methods. One of the latest developments in hydroponics involves using LED lights to grow plants indoors, which could give rise to futuristic indoor farms that produce all kinds of foods year-round.
Aquaculture is an agricultural method where aquatic life is farmed or raised. It's the practice of raising fish, shellfish, and other organisms. While it does not involve fishing in the traditional sense, aquaculture still relies on natural bodies of water.
Sustainable aquaculture is of course a better option than overfishing. Sustainable aquaculture operations can be run at a small scale; some even rely on human labor instead of heavy machinery. Reducing energy consumption and pollution is vital for sustainable food production.
Sustainable aquaculture operations are often situated closer to urban centers so that the product doesn't have to travel far to reach its customers. Locally grown foods ensure peak freshness while supporting local farmers and reducing carbon emissions from vehicles such as trucks and trains.
Sustainable aquaculture supports biodiversity by improving the substrate (the material at the bottom of a body of water) and restoring habitat in regions that have been overfished or otherwise damaged by traditional fishing practices.
Sustainable Farming Is the Future of Food Production
A key component of the future of food production is sustainable farming. We all want to eat quality produce and consume animal products that are responsibly sourced but achieving that requires more than buying organic from Whole Foods.
Food sustainability is also about reducing our carbon footprint, conserving resources, reducing waste, generating renewable energy, and building healthy soil. In other words, sustainable farming is about maximizing the harvest without sacrificing the health or productivity of the land for future generations to come.
Fortunately, today's farmers have an ally in agtech—the Internet of Things (IoT) combined with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and automation. A growing market sector known as "smart farming" gives hope that we can have our cake and eat it too by growing healthy crops while minimizing negative environmental impact.In conclusion, technology is changing the agriculture and food industry. From healthier food to a smaller carbon footprint and smarter farming practices, tech innovations can help us create a more sustainable food system for generations to come.