‘Plant’ is a new agricultural venture started by former Bank of America Merrill Lynch director Karim Giscombe designed to address the current state of the food industry. In an interview with Afdhel Aziz of Forbes, Giscombe details his efforts as harnessing the power of education, technology, and branding in order to usher in a new era of agriculture.
To date, the ever growing population is leading to an increased global demand for food, which is expected to present serious issues by 2050 if we continue to grow at this rate. 10 billion people worldwide is a lot of mouths to feed. Many corporations and organizations have attempted to address this now rather than later through methods like indoor farming, for example. While this is certainly a step in the right direction given that indoor farming often uses far fewer resources, more factors must be taken into consideration for sustainability.
The constant breakthroughs in technology in recent decades allow for much more targeted approaches to global issues.
Karim Giscombe and Plant are attempting to broach this subject in an innovative manner as well. By seeking out unused areas of land in and/or near cities, the company hopes to develop newer forms of technology to modernize food production and distribution, while simultaneously educating the surrounding communities about food and agriculture. Plant’s first-of-their-kind facilities includes high-tech greenhouses that are capable of growing a large variety of fruits and vegetables at competitive prices. However, Giscombe claims that solving the production problem is just one part of the challenge.
Plant uses sustainable, carbon-neutral energy via solar power and hydroponic systems, which greatly out performs older, more traditional agricultural methods. Unlike outdoor farms, the produce in these facilities is protected from harmful weather, and many pesticides, making it a better bet for consumers. The risks of contaminating food-borne illnesses are much lower through this process for a variety of reasons, and it also provides communities with year-round access to fresh produce.
Giscombe and Plant are well aware of the role Big Data now plays in the food sector as well. Because of this, they’ve partnered with iUNU and their crop analysis system LUNA. With their help, the company’s able to harness the powers of artificial intelligence to regulate crop health, progress, and cultivation. They’re even able to create 3D renderings of potential plants to test growing recipes, the required amounts light, water, and nutrients, and the right temperatures.
Giscombe and Plant also launched a nonprofit initiative titled Plant for Tomorrow which connects school districts with educational institutions to spread the word of new agriculture. This free program allows students as young as middle schoolers to learn technical and humanities-based skills for the betterment of their futures.
For more on Karim Giscombe and Plant, check out his Forbes interview here!