From Farm to Table, Innovation Transforming Agriculture and Food

Innovation has always played an important role in American industry. From the early days of the Industrial Revolution to the emergence of the computer era to advances in medicine, education and more, new ideas usually lead to better results.

The agricultural and food industries have benefitted from innovative technology as well in the form of robots, new farming methods and systems and products.

Farming is far more than just hard labor – it requires the constant monitoring of unpredictable factors. Technology is helping farmers see a complete profile of their crops, properly allocate resources and increase efficiency. AquaSpy, a system that monitors and regulates water use, sends farmers alerts on their mobile devices when crops need water, helping to increase yields and save energy. In the fields, a robot by Blue River Technology uses computer vision and fine-tuned algorithms to identify and kill weeds.

As the world’s population continues to grow, urban farming will play an important role in supplementing the food supply for major cities. Hydroponics, a cost-saving technology that allows plants to grow indoors without soil, makes it possible for produce to be sold locally within hours of being picked, providing a higher quality product and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, most urban farms are small and operate on rooftops, but soon full skyscrapers could be dedicated to farming.

Once the food is on the table, technological advancements are helping it last longer. MicroZap can make a loaf of bread last 60 days by using a process that combines thermal and non-thermal microwaves to destroy bacteria without cooking food. While still under development, products like this could eliminate the need for preservatives and reduce food waste, while having major implications for aid in developing countries.

From the farm to the table, technology is changing the food industry in many ways.