indoor farmsWe’re grasping at straws (and drinking through them as well) here in California as the drought continues with no end in sight, and state-imposed mandatory 25% reductions in urban and municipal use take effect. The problem is 80% of our water goes to agriculture so shorter showers just won’t do the job.

We’re looking for any solution even those that seem incredible. The idea of indoor, urban farms seems implausible at first but this company thinks it will work:

A Dutch firm on the cutting edge of indoor agriculture estimates that producing food for the entire world could take place in a space far smaller than the area occupied by Holland, using just 10% of the water needed by traditional farms. The proposal is not without precedent – Japan already has one prototype urban farm that is 100 times more productive than farmers’ fields…Urban farming in controlled environments lets growers take full advantage of variables like custom lighting, using far-red LED lamps in this case that reduce moisture requirements for plants. Naturally, interior spaces are also free from the uncontrolled variables of weather and pests as well, increasingly reliability.Automatic systems can optimize yields based on crop types, making indoor farms more effective than greenhouses and far more productive than fields. The ever-increasing efficiency and lowering costs of LEDs mean this method will only become more viable over time.

This might not be so far-fetched. We’re already growing fruit year-round under plastic to control evaporation, and of course I’ve had friends who for years grew some funny smelling herbs in a closet under grow lights.

I have no idea if this approach would pencil out in terms of cost. But if the drought continues, desperate times will call for desperate measures.