Buy local, eat local. Food safety, nutrition, and local economies are all on the mind to the 2018 consumer. The everyday consumer is growing increasingly aware of where their food is coming from, which has increased the demand for locally grown or produced food.
As the demand increases for local produce, keeping up with the demand is becoming an uphill battle for all levels of food production and distribution. It has supermarkets scrabbling to find new and reliable sources of local foods. This increasing demand for locally grown produce offers greenhouse and agriculture produce growers opportunities to work with large grocery chains as well as restaurants. To meet the needs of the market, businesses are developing and adopting new technologies.
Impact of Technology Local Food Production
Technology is nothing new in the agricultural industry. As demand increases, farmers and greenhouse growers have looked to new innovations to help improve productivity and efficiencies to meet those demands. From the tractor to vertical greenhouse production technology has always had a role to play in the agricultural industry and that will continue.
“In 1900, a single Canadian farmer could feed ten people. Today it is estimated that one farmer produces enough food for 120 people - and does it on less land and using less water and other resources.” Ontario’s Local Food Report
This increase in food production and efficiency is all thanks to something called agri-food technology. Agri-food technology refers to agriculture technology that reduces the impact of farming on the environment. This technology helps to increase crop yields while reducing their environmental impact. From hydroponic microgreens to greenhouses growing bell peppers and cucumbers year round, the variety of locally produced food is increasing exceptionally.
Innovative Agriculture Technologies
The average local food consumer is unaware of the level of sophisticated technology used to produce their dinner. The basic tractor looks archaic in comparison to all the technology available and used by farmers and greenhouse growers in 2018.
Crop data collection
Data is king even in agriculture, and crops are monitored by various sensors which can be attached to farm equipment. The sensors collect data on everything from nitrogen and water levels to overall plant health. The data collected from the sensors is then used to optimize the use of resources while avoiding crop yield losses.This data allows the farmer to find the most favorable conditions for each crop and work to maintain those conditions.The outcomes are all about efficiency while maintaining quality and crop yields.
Efficient Lighting Systems
LED technology has come a long way for greenhouse produce growers. Lighting management systems that combine software and LED technology are designed to optimize a crop’s yield potential. These lighting systems are helping growers produce more consistent products in quality, size and total yield, helping to ensure a consistent and reliable supply to satisfy local demand.
This is just a snapshot of the technology that is keeping the local produce sections at your local grocery stores stocked with all the seasonal favorites we all look forward too. Technology is helping local farmers and greenhouse growers seize the opportunities available in the growing demand for locally grown proceed and as technology is adopted in these businesses, a larger variety of locally grown produce will be available for dinners throughout the year. The result:food we can feel good about eating. Bon appetit!