This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. While the majority of the population now lives in urban areas, the vast majority of our food still comes from far distant rural farms using increasingly destructive strategies to maximize their yield. All of a sudden, however, technology and the market are giving producers the opportunity to scale urban agriculture up to help make cities sustainable. Innovations in remote sensing, data conglomeration, irrigation design, and lighting are enabling farmers to grow healthy produce on a tiny footprint with fewer dangerous chemicals. In the process, urban farmers can reuse waste as construction material and fertilizer, while operating farms distributed throughout cities in derelict and underutilized spaces.
Mitch Hagney farmed in the dirt of Massachusetts, Kentucky, and Costa Rica, and trained in retail and commercial hydroponics in New Hampshire and Arizona before co-founding LocalSprout, a hydroponic farming company, in San Antonio. Besides growing local produce, he’s worked for local produce companies such as Greenling and the Pearl Farmers Market. Outside of LocalSprout, he serves as a board member on San Antonio’s Food Policy Council and teaches Urban Farming at VentureLab.