Future Urban Farming Platform
Challenge & Opportunity: Food sustainability of the future
By 2050, there will be 9.7 billion people to feed and sustain. It is becoming harder and harder for food supply to meet up to the demands of overpopulation. To increase food supply, forests are being turned into farms. However, without trees, air pollution becomes a bigger problem than it already is. Gas emitted in the process of transporting food from farmlands to cities, where 60% of world’s population lives, further escalates air pollution issues and their consequences.
It seems as though there is plenty to eat in today’s cities. However, the processed high-calorie and low-nutrient food that the industrial food system ships into cities cannot be a solution to future food shortage. Rather, it’s a problem on its own. Too many urban dwellers are suffering from undernutrition and poor-diet related diseases like obesity, heart disease and diabetes from consuming such food. Health-conscious consumers in the cities have opted for ‘organic’ foods and the demand of organic and natural produce continues to increase. However, the lack of transparency in the current food supply chain creates trust issues around what is truly ‘organic’ and what is not shown or being told beyond the labels.
Solution Concept: SeedHUB
SeedHUB is a new urban farming service that combines AI & IoT technology to the concept and benefits of home farming in cities. It develops and promotes Open-farming, through which knowledge, opportunities and data about farming are exchanged. SeedHUB targets urban consumers and empowers them to become pro-sumers who can make an impact on their daily diets, as well as the future of food sustainability at large, right from their home.
SeedHUB is powered by hydroponics, AI & IoT + Open-farming. The hydroponics mechanism enables fast growth of plants with minimised risk for crop destruction and easy management of solvents. Hydroponics reduces water waste, requires less farmland and produces less CO2 than traditional farming methods. The AI component automates the farming process, making farming accessible and effortless for users. The Open farming service provided by the AI turns home farming into social and value-exchange activity for different service providers and users across and sets up a new kind of food system. Through IoT technology, SeedHUB connects with user’s lifestyle needs and other kitchen appliances (i.e. Refrigerator) to help them personalise and optimise their diets.
Impacts of SeedHUB: Green disruptive innovation & New sustainable ecosystem
SeedHUB is designed to bring green disruptive innovation to the existing food system on both local and global scale. Through home farming, urban farmers can enjoy food that is truly organic and share their home grown produce with the local community. With shortened food supply chain, costs of production and environmental damage is reduced while the quality and integrity of food is better ensured.
Through open-farming, SeedHUB fuels a new ecosystem where transparent and bi-directional relationships between the food market, consumers and relevant services are at its core. As explained in the video, new roles and interactions will emerge, such as farmers and agronomists that work closely with data and services that better understand the personal needs of consumers. Such ecosystem aims for sustainability for food supply, vitality of local food economy, better health of individuals as well as protection of our environments.
Collaborative Work with Jeeyoon Hong & Jiyoung Lee
Role: Design Concept and Program Design
Summer 2017 @Royal College of Art
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