Indoor Mini-Farms to Beat Climate Change

hydroponics-400We recently reported on Cornell graduate and Dominican farmer Jeffery Bruney, who is helping to modernize Dominica’s agriculture with a “hurricane resistant farming model” using hydroponics and aquaponics to grow crops indoors [also see previous post, Hurricane-Resistant Caribbean Farming]. Such responses to climate change are proliferating and efforts are being supported by the Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre (CCIC), headquartered in Jamaica and funded mainly by the World Bank and Canada. Caribbean Climate blog shares news about similar efforts in Trinidad, where industrial engineer Ancel Bhagwandeen explains how growing your food indoors is the best way to protect crops from the stresses of climate change.

So he developed a hydroponic system that “leverages the nanoclimates in houses so that the house effectively protects the produce the same way it protects us,” he says. Bhagwandeen told IPS that his hydroponic project was also developed “to leverage the growth of the urban landscape and high-density housing, so that by growing your own food at home, you mitigate the cost of food prices.” Hydroponics, a method of growing plants without soil using mineral nutrients in water, is increasingly considered a viable means to ensure food security in light of climate change.

His project is one of several being considered for further development by the Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre (CCIC), headquartered in Jamaica. The newly launched CCIC, which is funded mainly by the World Bank and the government of Canada, seeks to  fund innovative projects that will “change the way we live, work and build to suit a changing climate,” said Everton Hanson, the CCIC’s CEO.

Bhagwandeen said that support from organisations like the CCIC is critical for climate change entrepreneurs. “From the Caribbean perspective, especially Trinidad and Tobago, we are a heavily consumer-focused society. One of the negatives of Trinidad’s oil wealth is that we are not accustomed to developing technology for ourselves. We buy it. We are a society of traders and distributors and there is very little support for innovators and entrepreneurs.” He said access to markets and investors poses a serious challenge for regional innovators like himself, who typically have to rely on bootstrapping to get their business off the ground.

Typically, he said, regional innovators have to make small quantities of an item, sell those items, and then use the funds to make incrementally larger quantities. “So that if you get an order for 500 units, you cannot fulfill that order,” he said.

Fourteen Caribbean states are involved in CCIC: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

[The photo above shows a hydroponic unit that can also be run on solar energy.]

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One thought on “Indoor Mini-Farms to Beat Climate Change

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    It forges new ground in education as a living agri-science laboratory for our schools with up to 8 months integrated science data logging and upload to PC capabilities!
    Economical, portable, 100% photovoltaic, sustainable, no toxin, healthy, fresh, food & education in one package! Suitable for tropical, desert, temperate and Artic climates.

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