Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Food

Lots of people spread lots of (what we politely refer to as) manure when they are speaking or writing.  There are tabloids and blogs and conversations overheard that reek of the stuff.   BUT – there’s a real world application for manure in the farming sector of the economy that is beneficial  (and maybe less toxic than gossip or rumor?), and there’s new tech to help with precise application… Read about it here:

Digi-Star Introduces Rate Control

Manure SpreadersLook – The first step to assessing soil health is to simply look for ...

 

Digi-Star LLC is headquartered in Fort Atkinson, Wis., with additional facilities and businesses in the Netherlands and United Kingdom. Digi-Star LLC is a global supplier of electronic sensing equipment, precision sensors, displays and software used by farmers and other equipment operators to precisely measure and analyze valuable data from critical farming processes.

Here’s some press about the award they’ve garnered for their technology:  Digi-StarNT8000iEarnsAward

There’s a “world” of farming tech to be explored – visit this site by clicking the logo to learn more:

  ASABE  (American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers)

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Ok, so we’ve heard about hydroponic gardens, which grow vegetation without soil in a water solution rich with nutrients.

In a different twist, scuba diving company owner Sergio Gamberini and his son Luca have picked an even more unusual spot to farm:  under the sea, inside biospheres 6 to 9 meters (20 to 30 ft) below the surface, just off the Ligurian tourist beaches of the town of Noli, near Savona.

The Nemo’s Garden project started in 2012 and continued through the next two summers. The three (now five) underwater biospheres were anchored to the seafloor and filled with air. Then, shelves were installed along with cameras and sensors that monitor the plants bunches of basil (used to make Liguria’s iconic pesto sauce) growing either in hydroponics or in soil.

Take a look at this latest video in the quest to find unique ways to solve the plight of agriculturally-challenged regions of the world:

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In a related story, the forgotten tunnels under London are being put to good use growing underground farms.

blog london tunnels2

Ultimately, Ballard and Dring’s aim is to deliver fresh produce with zero effect on the environment.

The “world’s first underground urban farm” is set to start selling herbs and salads grown 33 m (108 ft) below the streets of London. Growing Underground is based in disused World War II tunnels.  At less than two miles from the city-center, it promises farm-to-fork produce in less than four hours.

The first phase of the farm is coming to the final stages of preparation for commercial supply and the crops being produced include pea shoots, several varieties of radish, mustard, coriander, red amaranth, celery, parsley and rocket.

How does your garden grow – do you have any new breakthrough ideas….. blog plant growth idea

 

 

 

 

 

 

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July 10th, 2015
7:34
 

Now here’s something that I don’t often see – and I am somewhat of a fan of all that glitters and IS gold!  Imagine taking something as mundane as coffee grounds and turning it into something that most consider to be a commodity – jewelry!

blog java jewelry which incorporates coffee grounds

One piece of a unique collection of jewelry from the Java Rock collection from high-end jeweller, Rosalie McMillan.

The Java Ore jewellery range celebrates reinvention and creativity, integrating a beautiful unusual material derived from coffee grounds, with gold and sterling silver. The striking and original designs are inspired by the properties and formation of coffee grounds, uncovering their beauty and transforming them into covetable lasting gems that intrigue and delight.

If you are interested in the circular economy (generally it’s more economically-friendly, because it means that you’re using less of new resources) as it relates to high fashion, check out the other coffee ground jewelry designs at their e-commerce website here

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Ensuring that the food we eat is locally and sustainably grown is not always easy, especially in cities where crop-growing space is at a premium. Firms like Freight Farms and Cropbox, however, have a solution to this problem. They offer shipping containers that are kitted out as self-contained farms.

blog freightfarm

Check out this truly farm-to-table approach – and when I say farm, I mean freight container:

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Another newbie in this arena is Cropbox, which appears to have a lot of the same features at a reduced cost.  They claim that you can grow the equivalent of an acre of field grown crops or 2,200 square feet of greenhouse space within a 320 sq ft footprint.  The business is scalable as you can expand vertically by stacking the containers 5 high – especially useful if setup in an urban area.

Sustainability features:

90% less water use than conventional and greenhouse cultivation

80% less fertilizer than conventional cultivation

Automatic record keeping for optimization

34% less inventory loss through simpler logistics

And both of these products enable consistent optimization of the growing process via a smartphone.

It kind of makes you want to try out your “green thumb”!

 

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In our world of seemingly endless acronyms, I stumbled upon this one – and once you see the tongue-twister it represents, you’ll understand why a shorter name was called for…

CRISPRs (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) are segments of prokaryotic DNA containing short repetitions of base sequences.  [Prokaryotic DNA are single-celled organisms that lack a membrane-bound nucleus (karyon), mitochondria, or any other membrane-bound organelles]   Researchers hope to use CRISPR to adjust human genes to eliminate diseases, create hardier plants, wipe out pathogens and much more besides.

DNA research making use of CRISPR has been ongoing since the late 1980′s. Please note: while I have NO training in micro-biology or anything approaching a minimal understanding of the subtleties of this field, I am a strong believer that in order for technology to be well used to benefit humankind, those who categorize themselves as experts should be mindful of the potential harmful consequences of their work…  I encourage you to form your own opinion based on the article I’ve linked below [it's a very long piece, but worth more than a skim given the seriousness of the topic].

There are links to a variety of materials within the article that give several points of view – as well as some kickin’ charts.  Give those some attention as well.  They’ll appeal to those who prefer a graphical representation of the growth of CRISPR research.

Once you’ve digested all the material, THEN ask yourself what your role might be in the pursuit of genetic modification…are you pro or con?

CRISPR

Illustration by Sébastien Thibault

CRISPR, the disruptor

 

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