Jonathan Margolis sets the bar for agriculture’s next revolution too low (“Urban farmers struggle to reap mass-market benefits”, FT.com, February 1). The next wave of food production, including the Gotham Greens and Sundrop Farms cases he mentions, will not be based on Schumacher’s “small is beautiful”. Rather, the new wave will be based on green platforms, with IT enhancement, big data and artificial intelligence — rather like industrial versions of the “floating gardens” found in countries such as Myanmar.
Hundreds of these “plant factories” have now been established in Japan, in Taiwan and increasingly in China; they are needed to feed a huge and growing urban population and are utilising controlled environment growing methods to do so, with technologies such as hydroponics. Capital is slow to join this next green shift and farming revolution.
Prof John A Mathews
Sydney, NSW, Australia