What if 20 years from now, major agriculturial business didn't depend on large swaths of farmland, favorable weather and sunlight? What if they just occupied LED-lit buildings set to a precise temperature and humidity? In the Netherlands, it's already happening.
As the AP tells it, a Dutch research outfit called PlantLab has had success growing various types of produce in indoor farming complexes:
In their research station, strawberries, yellow peppers, basil and banana plants take on an eerie pink glow under red and blue bulbs of Light-Emitting Diodes, or LEDs. Water trickles into the pans when needed and all excess is recycled, and the temperature is kept constant. Lights go on and off, simulating day and night, but according to the rhythm of the plant - which may be better at shorter cycles than 24 hours - rather than the rotation of the Earth.
PlantLab plans to build a four-story, 14,000 sq. ft. complex to further their research. They say that sunlight is completely unnecessary to the grow process, because plants only need certain wavelengths, and that the unnecessary waves from the sun might even taint food. They also believe that a 1000 sq. ft. facility could provide 200 grams of fruit and vegetables every day to a city of 140,000 people. Are we ready to eat the future? [PlantLab via AP]