If you’ve built a business dependent on agriculture, chances are that sourcing products has become more complex, costly and detrimental to the natural world. It’s an industry that’s been solidifying the relationship between food production and agribusiness. And while there’s no arguing the industrialization of agriculture has come to shape modern expectations of food security, it’s also catalysed an increasing number of social, economic and environmental tensions.
We’re talking about an industry that’s been pairing down it’s player base and scaling up its footprint. Pushing those actors out tends to stifle competition and limit producers’ income while that increasing square footage puts distance between farmers and their customers. This inflates prices with transportation costs and increases waste during long distance food delivery. It all comes together to impose economic pressure on private ventures and heighten food security concerns for low-income brackets.
At the same time, conventional agriculture’s affection for uniform crop cycling has forced the question of sustainability. Trading ecosystems for monoculture may have sparked creativity with fertilizers, pesticides and GMOs, but solutions for separating them from our environment are scarce. Simplifying harvests further affects our ability to maintain arable land with a diminishing effect on biological activity. It’s a cycle fueling the chase for productive land, helping make agriculture the largest single cause of deforestation.
It’s this landscape that’s led Urban Stalk to challenge wide held notions of food production. We want quality food to remain accessible, affordable and sustainable, and that’s going to mean rethinking technologies that make agriculture possible. So, whether you’ve been serving food for decades or keep businesses supplied to make those efforts possible, it’s time to start thinking about a better industry.
URBAN STALK AND THE CURRICULAR ECONOMY
We’re looking to principles behind the circular economy and its relationship with precision agriculture when thinking about food production from new perspectives. That means managing resources in ways that reuse and restore the things we put into our products. We’re getting that done by removing waste and pollution from our processes; starting with a set of materials and continuing to use them; and building back our environment. Framing agriculture this way fosters an insulated supply chain from farm to table, keeping both you and the environment we depend on adaptable.
A VERTICAL APPROACH TO FARMING
So that’s a lot of ambition, but how are we actually going to do it?
Well, say hello to Vertical Farming! The concept is pretty simple: ditch the tradition of laying crops out and build up instead. Okay, there’s a bit more to the whole setup, and that’s what gets us really excited. There’s a natural fit between the technologies that make vertical farming possible and ideas like the circular economy and organic farming. Innovations behind this approach let us connect with urban populations more efficiently, reducing costs for purchasers. They allow us to decide on conditions natural foods are grown in, making them safer to eat. And they reduce the waste, resources, and environmental impacts associated with putting food on your plate.
We’re pretty sure most of you understand that farming takes up A LOT of space, and by a lot we’re talking 40 percent of Earth’s land mass. That statistic makes distance between the majority of producers and consumers unavoidable—an issue getting worse as we urbanize. Simply put, because we demand a fraction of the space, we grow food closer to the places it’s eaten. Modular urban construction reduces transportation costs and carbon emissions, adding to your bottom line just as much as your environmental conscious.
After cutting our footprint we enclose the system, and that’s where we start getting creative. Integrating atmospheric control, we mimic diverse environments and optimize growing conditions for more than 120 crop types. We’re keeping a close eye on humidity, air temperature, C02 per oxygen, and air circulation because you really shouldn’t be stressed serving Caesar salad in January. Pairing that with a hint of bio-digest (think switching out chemical fertilizer for finely crafted organic waste), are you surprised that everything we produce is GMO, herbicide, and pesticide free?
Irrigated agriculture amounts to some 40 percent of food produced worldwide and excels at contaminating water sources. That’s why we’re using ionic induction to remove contaminants and reuse water resources. It means we’re using up to 80 percent less water than field farming and keeping water we lose safe for reuse.
And what about getting crops out of the ground? Heavy machinery makes conventional farming work, but also makes it vulnerable to shocks. We want you to spend less time checking oil prices, which is why we’re mechanizing tasks like seeding, harvesting, washing and packaging crops. It makes producing food more efficient and keeps costs consistent. It further reduces our carbon footprint and it gives you peace of mind when global shocks affect demand for your products and the resources needed to deliver them.
SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
Conventional farming practices have sought to achieve efficiency and cost cutting while side-stepping social and environmental sustainability. As populations continue to rise and urbanize, that approach looks increasingly detrimental to all but a few of the industry’s largest interests. If we want an equitable system capable of scaling with future demands on the natural environment, it’s going to take new innovative technologies to get there.
It’s easy to stay inside the lanes of an established system, but why settle for something that isn’t working? If you’re feeling the pressure and want to make your role in agriculture a sustainable one, start by visiting Urban Stalk.