Wednesday, June 13, 2012

More Automated Farming

I love the idea of automated farming. An ever growing population requires an ever increasing amount of food, and I can easily see the day that sunlit space is at a premium. So when a reader of Hack a day produced a small closet, lit with electric lights, watered by drip, and controlled to optimal conditions by an Arduino, I was all in favor. Specifically, our traditional farming is labor intensive, powered solely by the sun, and we're rapidly running out of arable space. Uncontrollable events like weather, wild animals (both of the mammal and insect varieties), and soil conditions can make or break a farm. If there's no rain, well, no more plants. If insects or deer eat up the crops, then, well, the farmer is starving this year. Or, alternatively, if insects pollinate the plants, then fertility is improved. Worms can aerate soil, mix fertility chemicals into much needed positions, and distribute bacteria. Lightning could burn the crops down...or fix the nitrogen that the soil badly needs. With this closet, everything is under control and certain. It may use more energy and be extra complex to set up, but I'm convinced that projects to produce unmeterably cheap energy are just around the corner, and increasing automation will make this project grow cheaper over time. By the time we need it, the distant descendant of this product will be ensuring that the teaming trillions of hungry humans can still afford food.

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