By Amando Flavio
Innovations that will make the human race thrive on Earth, saving its finite resources from extinction, are something we should embrace without a second thought.
We get our food from plants and animals. As we grow in numbers, so too does the global demand for food. Currently, activists are fighting the spread of Genetically Modified Food (GMO). The argument for GMO proponents has been that the world is running out of its resources, and hence, we need to find ways and means to sustain us. According to them, GMOs will ensure that we maintain our food production level. This argument might sound convincing on first hearing, however, deeper probing of GMOs has revealed that the harm it causes far outweighs the good it does.
We, therefore, cannot accept GMOs. It will bring a plethora of health problems to the populations who consume them, in the long-term. We must find other alternatives to boost our food production.
Thankfully, some innovators are coming up with sound and efficient ways by which we can grow our food – without relying on our finite resources.
A start-up, called Sundrop Farms, has developed high technology greenhouse facilities that use a number of solutions to grow crops with less reliance on finite natural resources, than conventional greenhouse production. Sundrop Farms has offices in London in the United Kingdom, and Adelaide, in southern Australia.
To grow crops; land, water, and energy are needed. These resources are finite. But with Sundrop Farms, these resources can be reinvented the other way around. In 2010, Sundrop Farms opened its first pilot facility in Port Augusta, South Australia. Located in the middle of a desert, it would have been impossible to grow food in the area using a tradition farming method. But Sundrop is changing the game. It is growing crops in the desert through a latest innovative means. It is combining seawater and sunlight to grow food in the middle of the desert.
With this, climate change, biotech company land grabs, drought, floods, and pestilence are no longer a concern for Sundrop Farms.
Sundrop is now using coconut husks, 23,000 mirrors to reflect solar power, and desalinated water on its 20-hectare farm to grow food at the Port Augusta farm. It works like a magic, but it isn't such a mystical charm. It is through deep thinking that brought this innovation to our reality.
Sundrop treats the seawater from the Spencer Gulf, reusing it in a massive greenhouse lined with cardboard. By doing this, it avoided having to rely on groundwater for its operations. Sundrop also grows hydroponically, which reduces the overall need for water, while making the need for soil a moot point. Utilizing a bevy of mirrors to redirect the desert sun, all the farm needs is sunlight and some seawater to grow 17,000 metric tons of food every year.
Sundrop Farms' farm has a year-round growing season. During winter, the greenhouse is charged with 39 megawatts of clean energy gained from solar power. This ensures that the farm keeps running and producing. It is said the farm cost $200 million to build.
According to The Mind Unleashed, Sundrop Farms don't use chemical fertilizers or pesticides. It only employs beneficial bugs to destroy the pests that could harm the crops. Again, the company grows only non-GMO crops, supplying them to grocery stores in Australia. It is said Coles Supermarkets has signed a 10-year contract with Sundrop Farms, having the exclusive right to supply produce of the company.
The investors said they were motivated to allocate their money to this project, due to the facility's ability to do away with fossil fuels. They believed their investment is worthwhile in the long-term.
"Because we do everything in a controlled environment, we know what our input costs are, and we're doing everything on a renewable basis, we can provide real consistency of supply and a higher quality product at a better price year 'round," Philipp Saumweber, chairman and CEO of Sundrop Farms said.
The story of Sundrop Farms has proven the possibility to do away with biotech companies (Monsanto) whose main objective is to force feed us with GMOs. We can do away with them if we continue to think like Sundrop Farms. Yes, indeed, we certainly can!
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