The Futuristic Farms That Will Feed the World | Freethink | Future of Food

The Futuristic Farms That Will Feed the World | Freethink | Future of Food

And that gives a little
bit of an indication of the pressure on the food system. We just face a huge challenge. With the growth in population, with the change in consumption behavior. With the climate crisis, how do you secure your food production? The real secret is the
sustainable production. It should be with less
inputs, with less fertilizer, less pesticides, less water. It needs to be sustainable. Otherwise, we will destroy our planet, yeah? – [Narrator] The security
of the food system is one of the world’s most pressing challenges. But the story of how
this small country became an unexpected food superpower might just have some answers for how we tackle it. Consider this: if everyone
on earth ate the diet of the average American,
that would require all the habitable land to
be used for agriculture, and we’d still be 38% short. And that’s right now. What do we do when there
are two billion more people? Well, the key is more
exciting than it sounds, and that’s efficiency. Basically, how do we produce
a lot more on the land we’re already using, and do it using a lot fewer natural resources. – When it comes to
sustainable agriculture, one country has seemed to crack the code. Bolstered by a national
commitment to produce twice the amount of food
with half the resources, the Netherlands has become the world’s number two food exporter. (upbeat music) – It was very close collaboration
between the government, science organizations, and the industry. And they started out
of a common interest. So they say, okay, we want to
go for sustainable production, but everybody was aligned. – [Interviewer] Everyone
involved in the system was aligned and embraced
innovation to reach that shared goal, and
that has driven efficiency on a level unmatched
anywhere else in the world. If there’s one place that
approach is most clear, it’s in their unrivaled
greenhouse growing operations. – There’s a very nice
example of about tomato which really gets a good
insight on how we want to produce our foods in sustainable ways. So, if you produced tomatoes
in an open field situation in Spain, then you will, uh, end up at the end of the growing season
with four kilograms per square meter. If you do this in a
high tech greenhouse in the Netherlands at the
moment, you will end up with 80 kilograms per square
meter which is 20 times more. But the best part of the
story is that the 80 kilograms of tomatoes, we do it
with four times less water compared to an open field situation. Water is one of the big
challenges that we face. Just had a cup of coffee. Do you know how many liters
of water were needed to produce that cup of coffee? Rough guess. – [Interviewer] Ten? – 150. So, high technology offers,
really, a possibility of producing a lot of food per square meter in a sustainable way. – [Interviewer] The Dutch
lead the world in tomato yield while using a fraction of the water that other countries use. But it’s not just tomatoes. Measured by yield per square mile, they’re the world leader in the production of chilies, and green
peppers, and cucumbers. Number five for potatoes,
onions, and carrots. The list goes on. But the bottom line is
they’ve been able to get so much out of so little. – If we are able to produce 80 times more with four times less water, that’s, that’s great. That’s great news. – [Interviewer] Most people
know that greenhouses allow a grower to tweak
every little thing, but the Netherlands is
taking it to the next level. They’ve perfected the
greenhouse as the ideal environment to continuously
test and implement all kinds of ways to optimize growth. From things as simple as testing what hues of LED lights can increase pest resistance and improve nutritional value, to things as crazy as moth killing drones. – So we’re, at the moment,
we don’t have any products who can control actually the moths. And then finally they
will produce caterpillars, and those caterpillars
they can do a lot of harm to many different crops. A drone is able to detect the moth. Also, to see how it’s
flying and with it wings, propellers will just, will just crush, actually, the moth. – [Interviewer] Wow. There’s a relentless drive
towards innovation to create better and more
efficient growing techniques. They’ve even started
taking the human touch completely out of it. Some of the latest tech
relies on AI to learn plant behavior and
constantly adjust conditions without any input from a farmer. – For example, what we’re testing in this compartment is a climate computer. So we have different sensors, and it actually, we
measure the plant activity. Based on plant activity, the computer is actually controlling the
whole climate by itself. – [Interviewer] Ultimately,
the key to solving our global food challenge
isn’t just in relying on super efficient food
producers to carry the weight for everyone else,
it’s learning from and adopting that technology. At the World Horti Center,
you see that effort first hand in an ongoing experiment. They’ve built, basically, a
greenhouse within a greenhouse. Inside the largest structure, they’re able to replicate
any climate on earth to figure out what
modifications need to be made to realize the same yields they’re getting in the Netherlands in any
other country on earth. – We have a cooperative
project going on with Columbia. And we can, in fact, mimic,
we can emulate the climate, the current climate
conditions in Columbia, put their crop in and see
how crop behaves under the circumstances that we have in Columbia. We can totally flip the seasons around. We can make it a sunny day on Christmas. We can close the curtains
on a sunny day and make it completely dark. – [Jeroen] I think, in the
long run, the future of the Netherlands should not
be to be a producer for the rest of the world. We should be a developer
for the rest of the world. – We are the country that
will export our knowledge on creating production
facilities all over the world. – Innovation starts,
really, by bringing all these networks together. In the world we live now
a days, you need to link up with other people. You can’t do it on your own. We need to produce more. We need to do it with less inputs. And we need to do it better. Thanks for watching. If you like the Future of Food, stay tuned for our new series Future of Cities. Subscribe to Freethink now to be the first to see new episodes.

17 thoughts on “The Futuristic Farms That Will Feed the World | Freethink | Future of Food

  • Each county or state/province should have its own local food producer so that you don't have to add all the chemicals to make the food last longer on its journey.

  • This is basically what i was discussing with my son (9 years old) with the minor details that we also talked about
    1. Solar panels on the roof tops and sides.
    2. Turn plant and other matter into biofuel
    3. Store excess energy as a gas that converts back to energy at (almost) 1 to 1 ratio – cannot remember what its called.
    4. Stack the green houses to save space and replant forests.

    It's nice to have a clear roof top to get the sun directly on the plants, but i really dont see a real need for this, it is extremely space intensive.
    And than we could replant over devastated forest areas. Less space and more output with better local environment.

  • 2 or 3 years ago the experts said that 50 percent of all food was destroyed so had all that food had gor to the people we could have fed close to 14 billion people so there is NO shortage of food in the world just a very large shortage of common sense

  • Climate crisis? Warmer temperatures means longer growing seasons. We can already feed the world, its just a matter of prosperity in impoverished nations not being able to afford it as of yet

  • Problem is waste. Ive seen fields filled with irregular smaller veggies. Rotting. We waste way more than we need to not to mention the over eating and over waste epidemic in our society.


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