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Japan’s Brave New Farm

In a day and age where the apparent majority of chemical companies seem intent more on discovering new and exciting ways to make food toxic, reports of a Japanese company producing pesticide-free, higher-yield, and faster-growing vegetables is welcome news.

Mirai Co., Ltd.’s Green Room is a state-of-the-art greenhouse that relys on hydroponics and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to grow primarily leafy vegetables. Controlling such variables as temperature, humidity, light, and darkness, the company’s new technology allows for the growing of produce year-round—sidestepping such traditional concerns as too little/too much rainfall and less-than-ideal climates.

leafy

Mirai claims that with its technology it is possible grow 100x more vegetables per square foot than with traditional agricultural methods and that crop yields and productivity approximately 50x higher (than with soil cultivation) are achievable. Just one example provided is that of lettuce growing 2–3 times faster than with soil cultivation.

While these results are most definitely remarkable, the science behind them is surprisingly simple. The sealed environment allows for the control of airflow and cultivation without the use of pesticides (as there are no pests, pollen, or viruses present).

To the layman, chemical pesticides and produce probably go together about as good as as Chinese food and chocolate pudding… but good technology is necessary for the advancement of agriculture. And GMO does not have to automatically equal bad. But until the time comes where there is more information and better transparency, erring on the side of caution seems only common sense.

So… does Mirai have the solution to world hunger? They feel they are on the right track, and it certainly seems like a realistic possibility. But nothing is ever that easy. The amount of work needed to expand their business and the range of produce will take time. In the meantime, there will surely be some that argue for wholly organic, rallying against the use of artificial light and climates. And yes, there is a point that can be made. But when given the choice between that and some of the other alternatives, it seems like they ought to “let us” (painful, but couldn’t resist) enjoy some science and food for once.

H/T: Good News Network