By Kim Lovan and Zack Olson
One in every nine people in the world – or roughly 815 million people – are undernourished, according to the United Nations. This sobering statistic has prompted the UN to launch its Zero Hunger initiative, which aims to end hunger through indoor farming solutions, a now viable means for achieving sustainable food production.
The goal is simple: Ensure everyone has access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food by 2030.
Population growth, water shortages, climate change and increasingly infertile land mean sustainable agriculture will be vital to feeding the world in the not-to-distant future. By 2050, it is predicted that the global agricultural sector will need to produce 70 percent more food to feed the world’s projected 9 billion people. However, the available arable land capable of supporting food production is declining every year, placing greater pressure on ensuring global food production keeps pace with population growth.
Indoor farming techniques and other innovations such as land-based recirculating aquaculture systems and alternatives to traditional animal proteins are gaining traction in the United States and abroad in an effort to offset the projected food deficit while mitigating many of the environmental impacts typically associated with large-scale agriculture. But a crucial challenge still persists: How can we help these agriculture innovators scale the infrastructure necessary to help meet the world’s food demand while maintaining cost competitiveness with conventionally grown produce and protein sources?