Will Climate Change Move Agriculture Indoors?
As climate change does its thing to America, what it is going to do to the nation’s food supply is still an open question. Will California’s Central Valley, which grows a third of the produce eaten in the U.S., wither into a vegetable ghost town? Will other locations pick up the slack? Or will agriculture just take a look at the harsher droughts, crazier storms, and prolific insects that the future has in store and move indoors?
It’s this indoor farming future that Allison Kopf, founder and CEO of the agricultural technology startup Agrilyst, is curious about. In an indoor farm, water doesn’t inconveniently evaporate. LED lights can lengthen the hours of sunlight so plants can grow faster. CO2 levels can be tweaked. Even as the weather outside goes haywire, plants farmed indoors can live out an optimized version of the weather that they coevolved with — the weather of the past. The best weather of the past. Or, as Kopf calls it, a “weather-independent environment.”