Pure Ingenuity

One of my favorite words in the world is ingenuity. It’s my go to definition for people in agriculture who not only solve their problems but do so with a curiousity and a flair that most people do not have.This attitude could be compared to that of an architect or an inventor who takes functionality, visual impact, sustainability and usuability, merging them all into one.

Using future technologies or even creating unique methods and techniques is now a common trend. Not only do the ingenious people of agriculture create or produce great products for consumption but their work also inspires others of all ages to create  as well. We all need some inspiration sometimes, you just have to know where to look.

Furniture Farming

This BBC Report introduces us to Gavin Munroe, “the man who grows fields full of tables and chairs”. Taking his experiences as a child of having to straighten his spine and the odd growth of a bonsai tree, along with his exceptionally high level of patience (granted his designs take six years to grow), Gavin transformed this combination of factors into something that is creative, fufilling and profitable.

Funiture farming

Phot Credit: Creator’s project of Vice News

Instead of growing trees to the best production size, choping them down, cutting them into smaller pieces and then putting it back together, Gavin grows the trees directly into the shape that is needed: It’s wood making redefined.

Underwater Gardening

Nemo’s Garden is an ongoing project of the group, Ocean Reef, who have for quite sometime been growing crops underwater! They have developed an underwater greenhouse which have grown crops such as basil, lettuce, strawberries and beans. President of Ocean Reef, Sergio Gamberini recognized that the ocean provides the perfect environment for plants to grow as they need constant temperature, water, light, protection from parasites, pests and changing weather patterns.

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TFF logo

It’s finally here!!!!

The 2015 Thought for Food Summit takes place today and Tech4Agri will be there live! The event is held in Lisbon, Portugal a beautiful city with rich culture, and food that serves as a prominent hub for entrepreneurship & innovation.

Meet the finalists

Hundreds of teams from universities all around the world entered the TFF Challenge, each diverse, motivated and brave enough to tackle the challenge of “How to feed 9 billion people by the year 2050?” Can you imagine the ingenuity coming out of such a competition!

From improving post harvest losses with the use of thermochromic and hydrochromic labels to an alternative meat product derived from insects; from roof top and vertical farming to community action and cooperative skill development these teams have applied science, technology, communication and simple innovation to create amazing ideas that can certainly contribute to solving this global problem of food availability and access.

Following their hard work the finalist teams had a stellar bootcamp where they developed their ideas even futher and practiced their eventual live pitch which will be held on the second day of the summit. The best to them all! View their projects at the TFF Website.

The TFF Challenge 2015 finalists at their development bootcamp. Picture courtesy Thought for Food

The TFF Challenge 2015 finalists at their development bootcamp. Picture courtesy Thought for Food

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“Made in Agriculture: Part Two”

Readers, Do you remember these posts?

These are all posts made over a year ago on the tech4agri blog. At the time they were all ideas or in the testing stage of their design and intended implementation. Other items along with the aforementioned were simply conceptual but has the potential for great impact. Let’s have a brief recap of these technologies. Have they been updated?

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Welcome back!

The new year is well on its way. With it comes new technology and innovation geared towards the many problems producers and other stakeholders face in agricultural production. Some of them are meant to improve entire industries while others simply seek to improve the lives of consumers. Each technology or method currently under research and development is astounding in its own right and will pave the way for the progress of the overall agricultural sector. Let’s take a look at some new innovations for 2014:

Biochar from Biomass:

By now  many of us have heard of bio energy which is renewable energy made available from materials derived from biological sources. According to the website Wikipedia.com, “biomass is any organic material which has stored sunlight in the form of chemical energy. As a fuel it may include wood, wood waste, straw, manure, sugarcane, and many other byproducts from a variety of agricultural processes”

The Cool Planet  organization has created a patented two-part mechanical and chemical process  which converts biomass into both carbon negative drop-in gasoline and biochar. This clean renewable fuel can be distributed and used in today’s vehicles with no change to existing infrastructure. The biochar, when placed in the ground as a soil enhancer, removes CO2 from the atmosphere while improving the soil for agricultural use.

Later this month we’ll learn more of biochar from a young Belgian agri-entrepeneur who utilizes biochar in her business endeavors.

A diagram depicting how Film Farming works Source: Agricel.com

A diagram depicting how Film Farming works
Source: Agricel.com

Film Farming: Here in the Caribbean many of us are aware of plastic mulch used to suppress weeds, conserve water and sometimes to reduce disease. There is no better case of science providing an improvement that Film Farming.  According to its creators Agricel this is “a technology in which plants are cultivated on a hydromembrane composed of water-soluble polymer and hydrogel. This hydromembrane absorbs water and nutrients from the culture medium, and does not release any to the plant side.  Accordingly, the plant develops a lot of fine and dense roots closely attached to the hydromembrane surface to absorb water and nutrients.”

This technology saves 90% of water consumption, Uses 80% less fertilizer, protects crops from diseases via pathogens as bacteria and viruses cannot penetrate the membrane material, its low cost and it allows the plant to produce many nutrients. An interesting technology it is.

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The Carbon Farming Team!

carbon farmongDear Readers

Your help is needed. Today marks the end of Startup Weekend: an entrepreneurial initiative for budding businessmen, inventors and developers. The event is held in Trinidad and Tobago in a similar fashion to business hubs and hackathons all around the world.

One of these innovative teams have thought of a product based on Carbon Farming.

“Carbon Farming allows farmers and land managers to earn carbon credits by storing carbon or reducing greenhouse gas emissions on the land. These credits can then be sold to people and businesses wishing to offset their emissions.It helps the environment by encouraging sustainable farming and providing a source of funding for landscape restoration projects.”

You help is needed to assist this team in their endeavors. Please take a little time to fill out the survey using the link below. Your help is greatly appreciated. This is a special post, meant to assist fellow agripreneurs. The best of luck to them!

Here is the link to the survey:
The group is conducting a market research survey to solicit responses to guide development of their product idea as part of the Startup Weekend Initiative.

The Thought for Food Summit – Truly Motivating!

TFFChallengeWow! This is all I had to say about the Thought for Food Global Summit! Truly a different experience. Each aspect of the competition leading up to the Summit, held, 20- 22 September in Berlin, was geared towards young people. 97% of the attendees were all under 35 years. Emphasis was placed on idea sharing, thinking outside of the box, starting a movement, networking  and much more all geared the need towards uprooting the status quo (#uprootthestatusquo) as it relates to hunger, obesity, global food systems and food security. Attendees were able to meet with and learn immensely from experts and real world practitioners in agriculture, innovation, entrepreneurship, venture capital, public policy, and food science of the future.

(Click the picture link to the left for the #TFFChallenge Overview)

“Thought For Food inspires new ideas and bold approaches to tackle the world’s food issues. This is a wake up call. The world’s food system needs changing, and business as usual won’t cut it. We need new thinking, inspired solutions and urgent action to make a difference. That’s why we have created Thought for Food.”

In just two days, myself and other team members have learned so much. Our minds have literally been opened in terms of thinking not only about food issues but our personal approach to the situation. Not to mention the sheer number of  dedicated, young people, entrepreneurs, researchers and travelers from all around the world looking to make a difference in one way or other.

Photos by Tobias Jaeger - Thought for Food Challenge Organizing Team and Luke Smith of Lukesmithtv

Photos by Tobias Jaeger – Thought for Food Challenge Organizing Team and Luke Smith of Lukesmithtv