Saturday, April 25, 2015

Solutions to the Planet's Food Security Needs

Negev Desert
There are mud huts to block out the heat, solar micro panels for cooking, biogas production from waste, and wet mattresses to grow vegetables and flowers in the desert. This is the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies in Yotvata, the most torrid and depopulated area in Israel's Negev desert, where a community of scientists and researchers are relentlessly seeking solutions to problems beseeching the inhabitants of the planet's poorest countries.

A three-hour drive from Tel Aviv, this is a scientific frontier where Israel is using high-tech and human ingenuity to find solutions to the planet's food security needs amid severe environmental challenges. The Israeli pavilion at Expo Milano 2015 will be a window into this laboratory.

Not far from kibbutz of Ketura, a village of mud huts, looking just like many of those in the remote areas of Africa and Asia, was built to re-create the original environment that needs help and is not connected to electricity, water or telephone.

The mud huts are comprised of plastic bags containing fibers that can't be penetrated by excessive temperatures. An electric oven in the center of a hut is powered by a micro-solar panel outside. A little further on, a visitor sees that the village uses new techniques that have been developed for life in the desert: facilities for recycling organic waste into biological gases, the cultivation of seeds that are able to flower even in salty soil, development of desert grasses into materials for biofuel production.

In the kibbutz of Lotan, the Center for Creative Biology grapples with the construction of similar huts and technologies. Just to the north is the Hatzeva research station where more than 40% of Israel's agricultural exports are produced in the greenhouses. As far as the eye can see, there are fields of fruit, vegetables, and flowers, where even the most diverse plants can grow thanks to the human ability to invent solutions. With the wet mattresses strategically placed in several directions, fans that take advantage of the desert air circulate the temperate air.

It's not surprising that halfway between Hatzeva and Yotvata is the Keren Kayemet Le-Israel — the Jewish National Fund that has taken care of the development of nature in Israel since the birth of the state — where there is an agricultural school that has welcomed hundreds of students from the Third World. The national flags hang outside the doors to indicate the students' countries of origin, including those that do not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

The aim of the Arava Institute is to transform agriculture into a high-tech bridge to the Third World, just like the successful recent project of Furrows in the Desert, which introduced agriculture to the village of north Turkana, Kenya.

Source: Worldcrunch

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be assured that we are moderating comments for spam, not dissent.

Thank you for sharing your opinion!

NOTE: We will not publish any comments containing hyperlinks that are not directly relevant to the post