Friday’s Finds: October 23, 2015

Every week I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on the internet that struck a chord with me. I call these: Friday’s Finds. Please excuse the messy start, as I find my rhythm for these posts.

  • A smarter approach for multilateral lending to farmers – Sustainable Food Trust – Sustainable Food Trust
    This alternative, ‘smart agriculture’ approach requires a holistic way of working. Simply combining the three silos of poverty, agriculture and climate fails to consider much wider planetary life-support systems. These systems include freshwater use, land system change, biological diversity, chemical dispersion, climate change, ocean acidification, biochemical flows, stratospheric ozone depletion, modified organisms and air pollution.
  • Back to School: Unlearning Nine Environmental Myths, UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
    There is no way local food can be anything but a niche market.
  • Apply Now: Build a Digital Tool to Help Farmers Manage Climate Change | Climate Protection |
    In light of this, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Microsoft are encouraging doers and makers to come up with digital applications (think apps, open source software and the like) that best help farmers access crucial data
  • Draper Nexus: Why We Are Investing in Agtech – AgFunderNews
    Farmers are a technology distrusting bunch (on the whole), especially when it comes to data collection. Further, the local dealers whom they trust are fragmented and just as tech adverse. To grasp the adoption problem, just consider this: farm management software is, for the most part, not competing with Trimble, John Deere, Oracle or IBM tools; it’s competing with notepads and Excel spreadsheets. 
  • Drones above the Vineyards | theUAVguy
    So we have shown how a UAV such as a 3D Robotics Y6, mounted with a simple Canon point and shoot camera modified with a NDVI filter, using powerful software such as Pix4D, can generate useful crop analysis for vineyards. We’ve pointed out lessons learned and are now ready to keep on helping the Santa Cruz Mountain Wineries stay the best in the World.
  • Precision Ag and Feeding the World | Iowa Agribusiness Network
     “We continue to invest and scale those technologies in so guidance technology, site specific agriculture is enabled through position guidance and Geo-positioning. We now have that technology available in 90 countries around the world. But as important as the technology being available, the better question is how do you use it. So certainly large farmers in certain markets can use it them today and even smaller farmers as well,” Reed said.
  • Inside the Nation’s Largest Organic Vertical Farm
    “Our vertical growing technology and local distribution methods reduce energy use, travel time and costs tremendously, making this model one of the most sustainable ways to guarantee access to fresh, healthy produce in city centers, in any season,”
  • The Scoop on Poop – Why is Manure Important? – The Crop Site
    “This makes manure an ideal soil amendment for fields with low to moderate soil fertility,” said Pepple. “When manure is applied to fields at appropriate agronomic rates, it will also act like field residue and reduce the risk of soil erosion occurring in that field.“

On top of it all, I finally made it to The Martian which was fun and certainly timely with all the Controlled-Environment Agriculture events. It certainly showed both the cool science and limitations of CEA. Maybe more proof that local food will only be a niche market.

Friday’s Finds: October 23, 2015

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