Less waste, more food. These 15 amazing images will make you rethink farming forever.

Can you imagine trying to feed 9 billion people?

I mean, it's hard enough to feed ourselves some days.

But come 2050, Earth will be responsible for feeding an additional 2 billion people roaming the planet. The question is: how to do that?


The answer isn't all horizontal. We can't keep clearing space and sending food halfway across the world. In fact, we need to look up. As in, like, literally grow food upward.

Vertical farms could be a big part of the solution to our food conundrum. And they are the coolest looking farms we've ever seen.

Image via CoolFarm, used with permission.

These bad boys look like something straight of the year 3000, only they're happening right now.

With traditional farming methods depleting the planet's resources, now is the time to look to alternatives that can help reduce that burden. To date, we've cleared space the size of South America for growing crops. And to make matters worse, 33% of the world's land surface is already degraded and can't be used.

Image via CoolFarm, used with permission.

Another problem is transporting food from point A to point B. For example, back in 2005, importing produce by plane into California alone released more than 70,000 tons of carbon dioxide — the same as over 12,000 cars on the road. Granted, this is a small sample size, but with an estimated 70% of the world's population expected to be living in cities by 2050, how are we going to ship food to them without destroying our air and water?

Vertical farms can grow produce with fewer natural resources and less waste. They can also optimize growing conditions so that the plants get the perfect amount of nutrients and light. (Hence the really cool lighting.) Plus, they're all across the world now, reducing the whole point A to point B problem.

Image via Green Sense Farms, used with permission.

They still have some pretty significant kinks to work out, though. For one thing, building and maintaining them is very expensive, so significant investment will be needed, and costs will need to come down to make them viable around the world. They also can't grow staple crops like grains and rice. They're not going to replace traditional farming anytime soon, but they could be a key piece of our food future — and researchers are hard at work to make sure vertical farm technology is constantly being innovated and improved so that this method is in peak form when it matters the most.

So, without further ado, here are 15 of the most awesome vertical farms sprouting up around the world:

1. AeroFarms in Newark, New Jersey

Image via AeroFarms, used with permission.

AeroFarms is believed to be the largest vertical farm in the world. Through their patented technology and controlled environment, they're able to give their crops the perfect amount of moisture and nutrients necessary to take their taste, texture, and color to a whole other level.

2. Square Roots Urban Growers in Brooklyn

Image via Square Roots, used with permission.

Square Roots co-founders Tobias Peggs and Kimbal Musk (brother of Tesla-founder Elon Musk) are paving their own green innovation using something with a distinct Brooklyn style — shipping containers. Even better, they're paying it forward and using their unique platform to inspire the next generation of real food entrepreneurs.

3. Plantagon's World Food Building in Sweden

Image via Plantagon, used with permission.

Still under construction, Plantagon's World Food Building aims to take the concept of vertical farming to heights it has never seen before. Once completed, the building's efficiency managing waste, water, and energy will be second to none.

4. Urban Crops' Plant Factory in Belgium

Image via Urban Crops, used with permission.

On top of conducting testing at their HQ in Belgium, Urban Crops also supplies their equipment to the world, so that anyone anywhere can create a vertical farm of their own.

5. Growing Underground in London

Just because you say vertical doesn't mean you can't look downward too. In fact, Growing Underground in London is the first vertical farm to do so. It's literally 100 feet below street level inside an abandoned WWII bunker. How cool is that?

6. Edenworks in Brooklyn

Image via Edenworks, used with permission.

On top of growing some of the freshest greens you can find in Brooklyn, Edenworks also raises fish in its indoor aquaponic farms. You can find their delicious, pesticide-free microgreens on the shelves of Whole Foods Market in Williamsburg, less than 24 hours from when it's picked.

7. Spread Co.'s Kameoka Plant in Japan

Image via SPREAD Co., used with permission.

Spread Co.'s Kameoka Plant is the largest-scale plant factory in the world to produce a single kind of lettuce. Their next step? Creating a technologically advanced automated facility.

8. PlantLab in the Netherlands

Image via PlantLab, used with permission.

The mission of PlantLab is straightforward — change the way we feed the world. To do that, they're using their revolutionary technology to not just grow produce efficiently, but also develop growing recipes based on their thorough customer and crop research. (That's right! Their ingredients have growing recipes!)

9. CityCrop in Greece

Image via CityCrop, used with permission.

Who said vertical farms had to be taller than you? This little guy from CityCrop is just one level, but it packs a big punch — it's perfect for home, allowing you to grow your own produce without ever having to go to the market. Or anywhere really.

10. Agrilution's plantCube in Germany

Image via Agrilution, used with permission.

Let's hear it for another little (but powerful) vertical farm! Agrilution's plantCube provides the complete experience and ecosystem for your home in a smart plug-and-play appliance. Oh, it also comes with an app so you can grow conveniently from your phone. (Wut?!)

11. Urban Farmer in the Philippines

Image via Urban Farmer, used with permission.

Mixing new technology with classic design sensibilities, Urban Farmer is distinctly Filipino, but international at the same time. And just like their fellow home models around the world, they're shortening the distance between farm to table to just a few simple steps.

12. Green Sense Farms in Indiana

Image via Green Sense Farms, used with permission.

When Bill Gates tweeted about the importance of the pink lights in vertical farming, he directed people to an article featuring Green Sense Farms. They're a full service one-stop shop that designs, builds, owns, and operates their vertical farms. That way, each little seedling can make its way to the supermarket with the utmost care.

13. Bright Agrotech in Wyoming

Image via Bright Agrotech, used with permission.

Like many other vertical farms, Bright Agrotech also supplies their technology to other aspiring farmers. And they're now the proud owners of the most installed vertical farm technology in the world. They're all about helping out local farmers, and they believe their work will be the future of food. We can't wait to see how that tastes.

14. GoodLeaf Farms in Canada

Image via TruLeaf, used with permission.

TruLeaf is the proud parent company of GoodLeaf Farms. TruLeaf takes care of all the technology and then supplies it to businesses and remote communities. GoodLeaf Farms, on the other hand, showcases all the leafy goodness that TruLeaf generates and supplies the largest food retailer in all of Canada.

15. CoolFarm in London

Image via CoolFarm, used with permission.

At their state-of-the-art test site in the U.K., CoolFarm highlights their incredibly advanced farming system that they're able to supply to more aspiring vertical farmers. They have iPad command centers, customizable parts, and a monitoring camera called "The Eye!" (Their name makes so much sense now.)

Today, there are still almost 800 million people who are chronically hungry. And by 2080, that number is expected to grow by 600 million more.

With continued innovation, vertical farms have the potential to be a key component of food access across the globe. They reduce carbon emissions, preserve land, and most importantly, expand everyone's tummies nice and horizontally. Solving the world's hunger and food access problems is going to take a lot of creativity, ingenuity, and solutions — both big and small.

And horizontal and vertical.

Heroes
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Gates Foundation: The Story of Food
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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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