innovation

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One agricultural method that has been proposed to address many of these challenges is indoor farming. Many indoor farming systems are deployed in containers to reduce heat loss and rely on artificial lights to promote productivity and use vertical grow units to conserve space. There are a number of recently commercialized systems that are capable of sustaining productivity but most of them suffer from many or all of the following problems:
• Fixation on plant production: Where’s the meat, milk or eggs that these communities want?
• Inflexible production systems limited to leafy greens: Most leafy greens have low nutritional and caloric value and were rarely used in these communities.
• High energy costs and a reliance on electricity from diesel generators: Growing anything indoors takes an immense amount of energy and many northern communities are paying over $0.43/kWhr for electricity. Compare this to the $0.06 – $0.10/kWhr that people in the south pay.
• High nutrient costs: Plant nutrients must be shipped from the south at great expense. Don’t miss a shipment!

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Acting President of the Mars Society of Canada.

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