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An increasingly viable solution for climate change is Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA), implemented across the U.S., in states likes Massachusetts.
The water, energy, and food security nexus is a real and present problem.
Here are some highlights from the website of The Agrarian Group:
As a species, we face the most complex and deadly problems we have ever encountered. Erratic weather events caused by climate change destroy crop yields each year. Pesticides have ruined our soil and water scarcity has become a national security issue. 70% of food cost is linked to fossil fuels, and prices are only expected to rise. The average food item travels 1500 miles to reach it's destination. However, despite everything we do, 40% of all food in the United States is thrown away post-harvest.
The Agrarian Group was started as an answer to a question - How will we feed the projected 9.1 Billion people that will reside on earth in 2050? To achieve this, we need to increase our already stressed agricultural production by 70%. How do we grow better?
Agtech solutions can help solve the challenges we face.
Here is an example of Agtech Solutions in Massachusetts:
BROCKTON – Downtown could be home to one of the few "vertical farms" in the nation, bringing 50 jobs and year-round fresh produce to Brockton.
The ambitious plan would be part of a multi-use project in the block bounded by Frederick Douglass and Warren avenues, and L Street.
"It's a game-changer. It really is," said Mayor Robert Sullivan during a recent interview at City Hall.
Greg Day, of would-be developers Day Brothers, balances the enthusiasm you'd expect of an entrepreneur with tempering expectations.
"It's still early. There's a lot of wood to chop," Day said in a May 11 phone call. "I want to be cautious. I think there's interest in making this concept a reality. There's a fair of amount of work that needs to fall into place."
What will the project look like?
The project would be similar to one that Day has under construction in the Portland, Maine, suburb of Westbrook. Like the Maine project, Brockton's would include a parking deck, housing above the garage and street-level commercial space.
"When you combine these components, it's powerful," said Day, whose company includes his four sons.
In Maine, Day is partnering with Vertical Harvest to create and run the 70,000-square-foot greenhouse. Vertical Harvest launched its first project of farming up instead of out in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. That effort drew national attention, including a segment on The TODAY Show.
The future of urban agriculture
Robert Jenkins, executive director of the Brockton Redevelopment Authority, admits that the idea of a farming facility downtown "just didn't compute" to him when he first heard it. But, unlike many cities, Brockton has an urban agriculture plan and Jenkins began to see the potential.
Rob May, the city's director of planning and economic development, said urban agriculture could have a future.
"This is the first proving of that," May said. "When you think that 95% of produce that you get in the grocery store is coming from California, that has no water and an enormous carbon footprint to bring it all the way up to New England, we could be growing that produce here, providing local jobs. It's fresher. It's better for you because it's not sitting on a truck somewhere."
The economics of urban agriculture are uncertain, but May said such projects would aim to be profitable by having a 24/7 growing season thanks artificial lighting, total insect control and ease-of-harvesting. Brockton's location puts it in position to serve the Boston metropolitan area and its farm-to-table restaurants, Jenkins and May said.
"I hope this is the first of multiple growing opportunities," May said.