Harnessing IoT to Combat Food Insecurity, Waste and Spoilage

AeroFarms and IMS Evolve are using innovative Dell Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to protect global food supplies.

In the past 40 years, the world has lost one-third of its arable land due to erosion and pollution. Industrial farming methods are degrading soil far faster than nature can rebuild it and compromising other natural resources. Globally, 70 percent of fresh water is used for agriculture. Meanwhile, the world’s demand for food is rapidly increasing. According to the United Nations’ (U.N.) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the world will need to grow 50 percent more food by 2050 to feed a predicted population of 9.7 billion.

Meeting the challenge of feeding such a large population, while conserving resources, will require looking holistically at our agricultural models. One area that stands out is the problem of food waste. The FAO estimates that one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion metric tons — gets lost or wasted. The U.N. estimates that reducing this waste by just 25 percent would be enough to feed people who are malnourished.

Two of Dell’s customers, AeroFarms and IMS Evolve, are addressing these problems by using innovative IoT technologies to transform food production and delivery.

, AeroFarms

24-7, AeroFarms collects millions of data points from farms stacked vertically. Using modern imaging, big data and machine learning, they’re turning everything about a plant into data.


Harnessing IoT to combat food insecurity, waste and spoilage

, AeroFarms

AeroFarms has developed an indoor vertical farming system that grows food with far fewer resources and less waste than conventional methods. In fact, AeroFarms has achieved 390 times greater productivity than field farming while using 95 percent less water.

At 70,000 square feet, AeroFarms’ flagship facility in Newark, N.J., is one of the world’s largest vertical farms, with vegetable plants stacked from floor to ceiling inside a former steel mill. Each plant at the farm is equipped with an IoT-enabled sensor that tracks its vital statistics, including water consumption, nutrient density and readiness for harvest. Dell Edge Gateways aggregate and analyze the data, and the system uses machine learning to optimize the growing environment. That means the vegetables’ temperature, water and light are adjusted automatically, and the team knows exactly when to pick them for maximum flavor, nutrition and freshness, avoiding spoilage and waste.

Original Source – Dell.com

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