Tuesday, December 5, 2017

"This Is Why Jeff Bezos Is Spending Millions on an Indoor Farming Startup"

From Architectural Digest, November 3:
The results could very well change the way you eat fruits and vegetables

With the amount of farmable acreage seemingly shrinking all the time, access to fresh fruits and vegetables can be hard to come by. Small-scale produce can be prohibitively expensive, and cheaper options from far-flung corners of the globe carry a hidden environmental cost. But one well-funded startup called Plenty believes that its technology harbors the secret to bringing “backyard quality” produce to the masses, and hopes that its newest indoor growing facility in Kent, Washington, will prove it.At just 100,000 square feet, Plenty’s new facility will be 99 percent smaller than a typical American farm. But Plenty’s goal is to optimize every inch of that available space for ideal cultivation. Fruits and vegetables grow on 20-foot-tall towers, bathed in LED lights and connected to a wealth of data-collecting microsensors.....MORE
...While the concept of eating produce grown inside on a tower might strike the farmer’s market crowd as puzzling, a recent $226 million funding round from Bezos Expeditions (whose founder is Jeff Bezos, current CEO of Amazon and among the richest people in the U.S.) and other VC firms suggests that there might just be a future in internet of things-driven agriculture. How ’bout them apples indeed....

That introductory sentence, "With the amount of farmable acreage seemingly shrinking all the time", is not quite accurate: We'll be back later with the story this line comes from:
"...The map establishes there are 1.87 billion hectares (4.62 billion acres) of cropland in the world, which is 15% to 20%—or 700 to 900 million acres—more than former assessments. The change is due to more detailed understanding of large areas never mapped before or inaccurately mapped as non-croplands...."