Sunday, October 16, 2011

Feeding the World

It's Getting Harder To Do

Phytelligence-grown Pinot Meunier plantlet
 ~ World population continues to grow exponentially, but, as Malthus observed, our food production is not keeping pace. Worse, feeding those alive today is getting harder:
  • Some food crops (e.g. corn) are diverted for making fuels
  • Fresh water supplies are dwindling or under threat
  • Modern agriculture is heavily dependent on fossil fuel inputs for transportation and fertilizer
  • Arable land is vanishing to development and to erosion
To produce enough food for everyone there will need to be many coordinated solutions. One partial solution would be to grow more plants in less space with fewer energy inputs. A new startup company spun out of WSU has technology that does exactly that.

Phytelligence makes smarter plants, or rather, has a smarter process for propagating them and boosting them through their earliest (plantlet) growth stage. It's not genetic engineering, or GMO, but rather the smart application of proprietary technology to grow vigorous and healthy plantlets in less time, at less cost, and with less water and energy.

The Company has already successfully propagated 4 of the top 5 fruits in the US as measured by crop value and by acres planted. There is enormous opportunity in other fruits, tree nuts, and other kinds of crops generally. The nursery business has seen little change in generations; Phytelligence is aiming to bring to the industry 21st Century technology, sustainability practices and logistics.

Come learn more about Phytelligence at the NWEN First Look Forum, this Tuesday, 3:00-5:00 at the Arctic Hotel in Seattle. Reception to follow.

Update: Phytelligence finished in the top 5. Thanks to NWEN for a great event!

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