Can gardens help astronauts go farther? “Our plants aren’t looking too good,” astronaut Scott Kelly tweeted from the International Space Station on December 27, 2015. He was right: The attached picture showed four baby zinnias bathed in magenta light. Three of the four leafy stalks were discolored and curling in on themselves. The station’s garden […]
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Major companies are bringing together new machine learning algorithms, better and cheaper sensors, and increased computing power in hopes of addressing growing global demand for food and agriculture’s diminishing labor force. The big picture: Alphabet’s X and John Deere, startups and universities are looking to AI-based agriculture to address these problems. But farming presents hard […]
If the move to make it legal succeeds, entire industries could be revolutionized. Today, the U.S. is the world’s largest consumer of hemp products. But because of the federal prohibition imposed on cannabis and hemp, the U.S. is importing an estimated $100 million of hemp products each year.
Can you imagine being able to produce enough water in the Sahara to grow crops there? Can you imagine harnessing sufficient quantities of solar power to supply electricity to cities in Africa and cities in Europe? Can you imagine producing a sustainable bio-fuel that doesn’t impact on world food supplies? Charlie Paton, Michael Pawlyn and […]
Nearly 21 million farmers in 452 counties across China have adopted recommendations from scientists in a 10-year agriculture sustainability study to reduce fertilizer use. According to Nature, their efforts are paying off: all told, the farmers are now $12.2 billion better off than they were before.
Elevated by its potency and portability, formerly-niche cannabis oil is going wide. SOME TIME AROUND the mid-aughts, folks in the weed industry began to notice a shift in the market. Pot smokers were smoking less, and dabbing more—heating the plant’s oily extracts to inhale high concentrations of hallmark marijuana molecules like THC. Extracts, which go […]
Robo-bees and drone-seeded forests: can technology mend our broken relationship with the natural world?
A drone offers a unique bird’s eye view as part of a forest fire surveillance system in the Landes region, France. I’ve tried many ways to free my brain from my iPhone. I’ve invented rules, bought books, deleted apps, installed other apps. But the only thing that reliably works is to leave the phone at […]
San Francisco-based Plenty already supplies produce for Google’s kitchens. Now it’s on a mission to expand what hydroponic farms can grow. Of the many crops that Matt Barnard has developed, he has a particular fondness for his kale. “If you think about what most people imagine when then they think of kale, think again,” he […]
Farms are a hotbed for automation. Robots, drones, and artificial intelligence have been assisting in agriculture for years and 2017 showed they could farm an acre and a half of barley, from planting to tending and harvesting, without a human stepping foot on the field. Now there is a small but robust robot that could […]
Pesticides are currently an essential ingredient of big agriculture in order to ensure we can continue to feed the ever-growing global population of our planet. However, pesticides also carry inherent risks, such as the damage they can do to the environment and local ecosystems, and the hazards that over-exposure can pose to human health. Their […]