Apr 11, 2011

do vegan androids dream of electric tomatoes?

Science brings us the sunless hyperfarm:
In their research station, strawberries, yellow peppers, basil and banana plants take on an eerie pink glow under red and blue bulbs of Light-Emitting Diodes, or LEDs. Water trickles into the pans when needed and all excess is recycled, and the temperature is kept constant. Lights go on and off, simulating day and night, but according to the rhythm of the plant - which may be better at shorter cycles than 24 hours - rather than the rotation of the Earth.

In a larger "climate chamber" a few miles away, a nursery is nurturing cuttings of fittonia, a colorful house plant, in two layers of 70 square meters (750 sq. feet) each. Blasts of mist keep the room humid, and the temperature is similar to the plants' native South America. After the cuttings take root - the most sensitive stage in the growing process - they are wheeled into a greenhouse and the chamber is again used for rooting. The process cuts the required time to grow a mature plant to six weeks from 12 or more....

Meeuws says a building of 100 sq meters (1,075 sq. feet) and 14 layers of plants could provide a daily diet of 200 grams (7 ounces) of fresh fruit and vegetables to the entire population of Den Bosch, about 140,000 people. Their idea is not to grow foods that require much space, like corn or potatoes. "We are looking at the top of the pyramid where we have high value and low volume," he said.
At this point, why stop with "natural" plants? Using them as a template, throw together some genetic engineering and 3D printing, and you can create more efficient vascular and metabolic systems to grow foodstuffs in a sci-fi agricultural dreamscape.

Also, I'm hungry. Vic's Pizza, anyone?

1 comment:

hippiehimjedi said...

mmmmmm :) veggies sound goooood right now!! :D