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Agricultural Pioneers Sow Seeds of Innovation

29.10.2014

FutureFood 2050 highlights new eco-friendly greenhouse technologies, seaweed farms and more, plus an exclusive Q&A with renowned animal scientist Temple Grandin.

Greenhouse lettuce plants bathed in soft pink light that cuts growing time in half. Farmers who boat to their coastal water “fields” of crops. Beef cattle bred for optimal meat production humanely and sustainably.

All this and more is already on the way, according to the latest series of interviews from the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) FutureFood 2050 publishing initiative, dedicated to showcasing new solutions for feeding the world’s projected 9 billion-plus people in 2050.

Agriculture thought leaders like animal scientist Temple Grandin and BrightFarms’ founder Paul Lightfoot are advocating for new initiatives designed to revolutionize the industry at every step from farm to table, employing technology artfully while maintaining the integrity of fresh, sustainably produced foods.

“Handling living organisms is an entirely different thing from making ordinary industrial products. I think cultivation know-how will be in even higher demand in the future,” says Shigeharu Shimamura, president of a Tokyo, Japan-based agricultural corporation that opened the world’s largest all-LED indoor farm or “pinkhouse” this year, using 17,500 lights that emit only the wavelengths most conducive to plant growth.

FutureFood 2050 agricultural innovators and visionaries this month include:

• Temple Grandin: professor of animal science at Colorado State University and autism activist who believes improving animal welfare is crucial to long-term sustainability


• Paul Lightfoot: founder of BrightFarms, which develops hydroponic greenhouses at or near urban supermarkets to cut time, distance and costs from the supply chain


• Shigeharu Shimamura: president of Tokyo, Japan-based Mirai Co. who is fulfilling his lifelong dream of building indoor farms around the world


• Brian Walsh: 21-year-old leader at National FFA Organization (Future Farmers of America) encouraging a new crop of students to help shape farms of the future


• Charles Yarish: University of Connecticut marine scientist who is creating an eco-friendly seaweed industry in U.S. coastal waters

FutureFood 2050 is a multi-year program highlighting the people and stories leading the efforts in finding solutions to a healthier, safer and better nourished planet to feed 9 billion-plus people by 2050. Through 2015, the program will release 75 interviews with the world’s most impactful leaders in food and science. The interviews with agriculture innovators are the seventh installment of FutureFood’s interview series, following sustainability, women in food science, food waste, food security and nutrition in Africa, aquaculture, and futurists on food.

Next year, FutureFood 2050 will also debut a documentary film exploring how the science of food will contribute solutions to feeding the world.

For more information, please visit FutureFood2050.com to subscribe to monthly updates, learn more about the project and read the latest news on food science.

About IFT
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Institute of Food Technologists. Since its founding in 1939, IFT has been committed to advancing the science of food. Our non-profit scientific society—more than 18,000 members from more than 100 countries—brings together food scientists, technologists and related professionals from academia, government and industry. For more information, please visit http://ift.org 

Mindy Weinstein | newswise

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