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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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:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CNPXCBB
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.

An example of an agricultural landscape/enviroment Source: www.iucn.org

An example of an agricultural landscape/environment
Source: http://www.iucn.org

Examining the topic of the week a little differently, let’s take a brief look at various land management techniques; your feedback is needed. What type of land management practices occur in your country or in your region of the world? Is it simple and decentralized or complex and heavily regulated?

How do other factors such as climate change, biodiversity conservation and the sustainable maintenance of natural resources affect agricultural practices in your local sector?

A recent project held on Union Island of the Caribbean region, by several partners including the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA) focused on Participatory 3D mapping (P3DM).

” This is a community-based mapping method which integrates local spatial knowledge with data on elevation of the land and depth of the sea to produce stand-alone, scaled and geo-referenced relief models.”

It is a 3D map made by using simple materials to create a model of the island’s resources. Understanding the environment of the island and the factors which affect it assists in creating and executing action plans to maintain its existing resources.

On this tiny island which is a part of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines, climate change has been affecting the coastal resources of the island which severly affect the fishing communities of area. Agriculture has become undesirable as an income generating sector while tourism, a big earner for many, has its own issues in terms of unequal income distribution, poor development and limited contribution to the economy due to seasonality.

Regardless through the participatory approach stakeholders including the islanders themselves have changed their land and natural resource management strategy in order to benefit all. This video highlights the programme and provides feedback from the participants. – Beneath the Surface: Mapping Union Island

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Click the link below for an info-graphic report on this blog’s activities for 2012!

THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 8,700 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 15 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Suitable technologies!

The Agri Cube
Image Courtesy: Google Search

In browsing the idea database found at Springwise.com I came across some interesting high tech agricultural products. Without thinking the thought came to mind of how marvelous these products are; but are they necessary?

The first was the Japanese created Agri-Cube a container unit that fits inside a standard parking space and can produce 10,000 vegetables a year.

“The Agri-Cube utilises variable fluorescent lighting, temperature control and a fertilizer circulation and drainage system to give urban farmers flexibility with their crops, which grow on stacked shelves inside the unit.”  

Now this device has its uses. It gives the user complete control over the environment in which food grows. And due to it’s high production, it can be used in schools, hospitals, restaurant etc. However this device is quite costly and it has a high maintenance cost. Keep this point on hand.

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“The Agricultural Technology Spectrum”

It is the nature of human beings to solve a problem or issue, to be creative, to invent; this leads to the creation of all types of technology for a myriad of purposes. The more important an issue the more varied the technology becomes as we (human inventors) try to solve that issue.

Agriculture and Food production in all forms is an absolute necessity since life cannot be sustained without food. Therefore, technology as it relates to agriculture ranges from low levels of engineering and simple ingenuity to high levels of complex mechanical and scientific systems. These create the immensely wide  spectrum of technology  that can be found all over the world.

Practical Action is a non profit NGO that “uses technology to challenge poverty in developing countries. Through technology they enable poor communities to build on their skills and knowledge to produce sustainable and practical solutions to their problems. Much of their work involves food production and sourcing.

Their work has already been featured on this blog as an exemplary form of Simple Agri-Production techniques. Key to their success is their approach to development which emphasizes low levels of technological application. Click here for a slideshow of their top ten technologies within lesser developing regions that have had the most success.

On the other end of the spectrum are high levels of technological application mixed in with marvelous ingenuity. A colleague at my university directed me to this next generation fishing technique. The Floating Fish Farm – an “aquapod” that rears fish sustainably in open water, an alternative to deep sea fishing.

Springwise.com reports “Marine biologists at Kampachi Farms have been raising hatchery-reared, native Kampachi fish in a 22-foot Aquapod tethered to a manned sailing vessel in the deep open ocean near the Big Island of Hawaii.

The fish are fed a sustainable diet that has replaced significant amounts of fishmeal and fish oil with soy and other sustainable agricultural proteins” Due to its design the contraption has no negative effect on the environment and has the potential to revolutionize fishing as we know it. To see the device in action click here or view the video in the comments section below this post.

The floating fish farm

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