In the 10,000 years of its history, advancements in agriculture have enabled three society-altering revolutions. From the domestication of plants and the resulting first human settlements in 8,000 BC, to the horse and plow and the rise of technology-based societies in 600 AD, and finally to the vertical integration of farming brought on by the mechanization, chemical fertilization, and biotechnology of today, agricultural revolution has always been the driving force behind humanity’s societal progress.
The current industrialized food system feeds 7.2 billion people, of which more than 50% live in cities and only 3% are involved in the production of their own food. With natural resource scarcity, flattening yields, loss of biodiversity, changing climate, and booming urban populations, our current food system is rapidly approaching its natural limit.
What will define the fourth agricultural revolution and how will it impact global societies?
OpenAg’s Food Computer solution was inspired by director Caleb Harper’s trip to Japan in 2011 following the nuclear disaster at Fukushima. The land was damaged and poisoned by radiation, and it was unclear at the time whether traditional outdoor agriculture would be sustainable under such harsh environmental conditions, and whether that food would be safe to eat. The idea for the Food Computer came about, and extended into a solution to the general problem that outdoor climate cannot be controlled.
OpenAg stemmed from the MIT CityFARM project and has since taken on a life of its own.