Saturday, June 26, 2010

Growing in the Dark

Discovery News is reporting that an Arizona-area company is now growing crops in the most impractical space I can think of: the inside of a dark shipping container.
Why, you ask? Well, for one, the controlled environment severely cuts the need for water, allows the plants to grow in a sterile environment to cut down on food-based pathogens, and is totally immune to all crop-pests, who cannot get into the container. Losses will drop well below .1%.
This is also idea for the deep future, as this could work in space, or deep underground. Yes, we have enough lit space on the surface for the moment. But if our population keeps growing, we will run out of this, and have to either convert more of nature into farms, use these grow-containers underground, or have a massive war over the ever-decreasing available turf. None are terribly appealing options, and this container option has the advantage of merely being somewhat expensive.
The containers have hookups for water and electricity, and can be programmed to light when electricity is cheapest to save money. Plants have a cycle for growing, one of which needs light to energize the plant, the other in which it doesn't matter if there is light or not. Plants developed this cycle due to the day/night cycle of the earth where they evolved.

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