The Futuristic Farms That Will Feed the World | Freethink | Future of Food

The Futuristic Farms That Will Feed the World | Freethink | Future of Food


And that gives a little
bit of an indication of the pressure on the food system. We just face a huge challenge. With the growth in population, with the change in consumption behavior. With the climate crisis, how do you secure your food production? The real secret is the
sustainable production. It should be with less
inputs, with less fertilizer, less pesticides, less water. It needs to be sustainable. Otherwise, we will destroy our planet, yeah? – [Narrator] The security
of the food system is one of the world’s most pressing challenges. But the story of how
this small country became an unexpected food superpower might just have some answers for how we tackle it. Consider this: if everyone
on earth ate the diet of the average American,
that would require all the habitable land to
be used for agriculture, and we’d still be 38% short. And that’s right now. What do we do when there
are two billion more people? Well, the key is more
exciting than it sounds, and that’s efficiency. Basically, how do we produce
a lot more on the land we’re already using, and do it using a lot fewer natural resources. – When it comes to
sustainable agriculture, one country has seemed to crack the code. Bolstered by a national
commitment to produce twice the amount of food
with half the resources, the Netherlands has become the world’s number two food exporter. (upbeat music) – It was very close collaboration
between the government, science organizations, and the industry. And they started out
of a common interest. So they say, okay, we want to
go for sustainable production, but everybody was aligned. – [Interviewer] Everyone
involved in the system was aligned and embraced
innovation to reach that shared goal, and
that has driven efficiency on a level unmatched
anywhere else in the world. If there’s one place that
approach is most clear, it’s in their unrivaled
greenhouse growing operations. – There’s a very nice
example of about tomato which really gets a good
insight on how we want to produce our foods in sustainable ways. So, if you produced tomatoes
in an open field situation in Spain, then you will, uh, end up at the end of the growing season
with four kilograms per square meter. If you do this in a
high tech greenhouse in the Netherlands at the
moment, you will end up with 80 kilograms per square
meter which is 20 times more. But the best part of the
story is that the 80 kilograms of tomatoes, we do it
with four times less water compared to an open field situation. Water is one of the big
challenges that we face. Just had a cup of coffee. Do you know how many liters
of water were needed to produce that cup of coffee? Rough guess. – [Interviewer] Ten? – 150. So, high technology offers,
really, a possibility of producing a lot of food per square meter in a sustainable way. – [Interviewer] The Dutch
lead the world in tomato yield while using a fraction of the water that other countries use. But it’s not just tomatoes. Measured by yield per square mile, they’re the world leader in the production of chilies, and green
peppers, and cucumbers. Number five for potatoes,
onions, and carrots. The list goes on. But the bottom line is
they’ve been able to get so much out of so little. – If we are able to produce 80 times more with four times less water, that’s, that’s great. That’s great news. – [Interviewer] Most people
know that greenhouses allow a grower to tweak
every little thing, but the Netherlands is
taking it to the next level. They’ve perfected the
greenhouse as the ideal environment to continuously
test and implement all kinds of ways to optimize growth. From things as simple as testing what hues of LED lights can increase pest resistance and improve nutritional value, to things as crazy as moth killing drones. – So we’re, at the moment,
we don’t have any products who can control actually the moths. And then finally they
will produce caterpillars, and those caterpillars
they can do a lot of harm to many different crops. A drone is able to detect the moth. Also, to see how it’s
flying and with it wings, propellers will just, will just crush, actually, the moth. – [Interviewer] Wow. There’s a relentless drive
towards innovation to create better and more
efficient growing techniques. They’ve even started
taking the human touch completely out of it. Some of the latest tech
relies on AI to learn plant behavior and
constantly adjust conditions without any input from a farmer. – For example, what we’re testing in this compartment is a climate computer. So we have different sensors, and it actually, we
measure the plant activity. Based on plant activity, the computer is actually controlling the
whole climate by itself. – [Interviewer] Ultimately,
the key to solving our global food challenge
isn’t just in relying on super efficient food
producers to carry the weight for everyone else,
it’s learning from and adopting that technology. At the World Horti Center,
you see that effort first hand in an ongoing experiment. They’ve built, basically, a
greenhouse within a greenhouse. Inside the largest structure, they’re able to replicate
any climate on earth to figure out what
modifications need to be made to realize the same yields they’re getting in the Netherlands in any
other country on earth. – We have a cooperative
project going on with Columbia. And we can, in fact, mimic,
we can emulate the climate, the current climate
conditions in Columbia, put their crop in and see
how crop behaves under the circumstances that we have in Columbia. We can totally flip the seasons around. We can make it a sunny day on Christmas. We can close the curtains
on a sunny day and make it completely dark. – [Jeroen] I think, in the
long run, the future of the Netherlands should not
be to be a producer for the rest of the world. We should be a developer
for the rest of the world. – We are the country that
will export our knowledge on creating production
facilities all over the world. – Innovation starts,
really, by bringing all these networks together. In the world we live now
a days, you need to link up with other people. You can’t do it on your own. We need to produce more. We need to do it with less inputs. And we need to do it better. Thanks for watching. If you like the Future of Food, stay tuned for our new series Future of Cities. Subscribe to Freethink now to be the first to see new episodes.

Danny Hutson

28 thoughts on “The Futuristic Farms That Will Feed the World | Freethink | Future of Food

  1. Farmer:
    How do you think you will feed people in 2050?

    Me trying to be an intellectual:
    Genetically engineered algae crackers

  2. We talk so much of carbon , warming due to coal, fossil fuels, rising sea levels etc. Day in day out. Even cows , plastic straws are not spared.

    But practically no word about the wasteful expend of energy in the human activity of cooking.. in the kitchen, in restaurants, bakeries etc.
    Tremendous amount of gas, electricity, coal is consumed – energy wastage can be as much as 50% due to inefficient burners, wasteful cooking practices, badly designed ovens, utensils and so on. And then there is washing with huge amounts of water.
    Nobody talks about taking a look at all this. All the raving mad activists rant about is plastic straws, cows, riding bycycles .
    Atleast let's start talking about doing some studies on this huge polluting energy consuming human activity and how much energy can be saved by better utilisation of two precious resources – energy and water.
    Instead of increasing outputs, let's figure out decreasing usage. It's called conservation.

  3. Hi, great video depicting the need for sustainability. Can I please use this video for a blog highlighting this innovation?

  4. Thanks Neitherland they are solving problem they are not even going to face, It's going to be us Indians and Chinese so a very heart felt thanks

  5. Great content and execution, congrats! Looking forward to the next episodes. 🙂
    Suggestion: add links/sources to the topic at hand, eg. the World Horti Center website, or even reports on the future of food

  6. I love my small garden. Every one should have one. It's easy. No hi-tech needed. Thats a future in freethinking. BTW Netherlands is the biggest food waste producer in EU.

    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/society/20170505STO73528

  7. I'm not taking away exactly the same message you're putting out—-"any small country can be an agricultural powerhouse if they innovate". The Netherlands is the delta of the Rhine river—it has fertile and friable soil due to flood deposits, meaning it's the most economically viable place in Western Europe to grow high-value produce (vegetables and greens) and the more high-value the produce, the more return you get for intensifying (installing greenhouses, etc., spending a lot of money on infrastructure per acre). Still a well-made video and the innovation is certainly important.

  8. If you want to secure your harvest on farms, start going back to God's original instructions in the Torah. Do not eat the fruit of a young tree in the first three years. The land is to rest on the seventh year to restore the nutrients. Poor people and animals should glean the corners of the field. Because no seed is planted on the seventh year, no harvest is done on the 8 year. Do not mix your seeds, GMO is thus forbidden. I can't remember all the details, but if I was a farmer, I would study the Torah laws carefully. Honor God in His instructions and He will give you a great harvest and keep the pests away.

  9. I think lab-grown meat may be able to finally make it to the consumer market in the next generation. Albeit, it'll be priced expensively, like when vegan alternatives were introduced.

  10. this is an insane efficiency. I can't believe they can grow that much. 20x vs. a field and with less water. MIND BLOWN. THE FUTURE DOESN'T SUCK!

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