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Published on Jul 18, 2016
Ed Harwood - Co-founder and Chief Science Officer at #Aerofarms
Bio: While travelling around rural areas helping farmers, Ed Harwood was inspired by the vast amounts of disused warehouse spaces he saw to invent the growing technology behind AeroFarms. Ed has over 30 years of agricultural and engineering experience. He fell in love with agriculture the first time he visited his uncle’s dairy farm and he has been studying, inventing and innovating ever since. He is a former Professor at Cornell University, one of the top agriculture schools in the world where he was responsible for identifying cutting-edge technologies. Ed is a thought leader in the world of indoor agriculture and is a 2011 World Technology Award – Individual Finalist. He has a B.S. in Microbiology and B.S. and M.S. in Animal Science from Colorado State University and Ph.D. in Dairy Science minoring in Artificial Intelligence from University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Presentation title: Vertical Farming: Thoughts and Techniques for the Circular Economy
Presentation abstract: AeroFarms has explored vertical farming for over a decade learning the science behind farming without sun, soil or pesticides. To be sustainable a new approach to farming must contribute to solutions for the problems at hand: water scarcity, fertilizer run-off, overuse of pesticides, and unhealthy people. In keeping with a circular economy a system of growing has been created that addresses these problems. Use of a closed loop aeroponic system, water and fertilizers are conserved by consuming only the water that plants transpire. Fertilizers are replenished at the rate that plants require them by developing predictive equations. Growing indoors maximizes utilization of space, allows urban location, protects against pest intrusion, and removes most food waste.
In the circular economy we cannot ignore the economic cost of poor health due to improper diet. Vertical farming is no longer a nascent industry, it is a path to resource conservation, better human health and thriving communities.
The AVF Summit 2016 brought together multiple stakeholders in order to:
» Discuss circular economies and inform on their application
» Present on state-of-the-art technical developments within vertical farming such as growing techniques, LED lighting, building integrated agriculture, mushroom production and insect-farming and more...
» Develop a perspective on policy, sustainable finance and business models
» Encourage industry standards and collaboration
The AVF Summit 2016 is brought to you by the Association for Vertical Farming in partnership with GreenTech and is sponsored by Fluence Bioengineering, Valoya and Blue Planet Consulting.