Science News 04/02/2013

Waste to taste: feeding the world's population in the next century

Through composting, vermiculture and high density vertical growing it is possible to grow 14 times more using 90% less water, energy and labor

What if you could take the leftovers from last night’s dinner and turn it into a fresh harvest of vegetables? Or be able to grow food anywhere in the world without paying for fertilizer? Possibly a solution to the rising cost of food, food recalls, and stories about starving people in other parts of the world that have become a part of our daily discussion. The 20th century agricultural system seems unable to fill our growing needs, while at the same time decreasing water supplies, increasing air emissions and fertilizer monopolies make it virtually impossible for farmers to make a living. In today’s globalized world, farmers are no longer competing just with local growers, so the biggest threat has become cheaper produce being imported from other countries. The result of this is the career becoming steadily less popular; a century ago 95% of the American population farmed - today only 2%. Questions are being raised as to who will replace our aging farmer population, how can we attract future generations into farming, and how can supply chains and middlemen be reduced to a minimum, ensuring 100% sustainability - these are becoming the most significant issues of our next century. But do we have to wait until tomorrow to feed the world's population today? The answer is no - the future of tomorrow is here and ready to be used to solve this growing crisis.

The US has been one of the biggest leaders in the sustainability movement, which has led to huge efforts by private companies to develop technology that will help us solve problems in our environmental future. Sun State Organics is one of those companies that managed to create something that could allow people all over the world have access to fresh food, using 10% of the water and energy normally used in growing without using pesticides or other chemicals.

All you need to do is take your yard waste, kitchen scraps - basically anything organic and load it into a rotating composter. In 7 days you will have rich compost, that is fed to worms which produce a sterilized, 100% organic fertilizer to be brewed and fed to plants. The plants hang in bags off of a Vertical Growing System, that uses 90% less water, energy, fertilizer and labor than traditional farming, can be used anywhere and requires hardly any training, growing 14 times more food per square foot. It is a zero emission system and can be powered using solar, wind or waste to energy systems. It’s simple enough to even be used in the house, flexible enough to function anywhere from warehouses to the backyard, and is affordable and environmentally friendly enough to be used by people internationally. The question of how we will feed the world in the coming years is one of the biggest issues facing us today. There answer lies in helping people grow abundant amounts of food easily, regardless of farming experience. Through composting, vermiculture and vertical growing, more food can be grown using less resources without compromising quality and nutritional value. Using their waste to taste solution, Sun State Organics hopes to make a difference in people’s lives across the world by giving them an environmentally friendly way to have constant access to fresh food and feed their families for many years to come.

di S. C.