As the world's population continues to skyrocket, livestock farming is becoming an unsustainable environmental strain. While there are dozens of companies and research organizations trying to solve the problem—whether by growing meat or manufacturing eggs—progress still seems slow.
But one MIT researcher wants to tackle a different food group: vegetables. Caleb Harper is the founder of the MITCityFARM, a research group that is trying to bring urban farming into the 21st century by reducing water waste and increasing nutrient density, among other goals.
Instead of rooftop gardens, CityFARM uses technologically advanced planters that water plants through misters and let roots grow in the air instead of dirt, The Verge reports. The planters also use special red and blue lighting to provide plants with the correct wavelengths of light needed for growth.
According to The Verge, the first commercial CityFARM is already scheduled to open in the next six months.
CityFARM is also working on an "urban agriculture facade," which allows plants to grow vertically on the walls of existing buildings, instead of in fields. They already have a working facade at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
With such systems, the world's concrete jungles could become much greener. And the definition of "farmer" could take on a whole new meaning.