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FIELDS OF TOMORROW

The world’s population is increasing at a rate of 2% per year. Experts predict widespread flooding in some areas and drought in others. This makes for an alarming scenario, given agriculture’s limited capacity to supply food for the world’s population. 
 
What can be done? How can we ensure sufficient food for everyone on earth? Can we increase food supply and boost production by expanding cultivated areas at the expense of forests, or by reclaiming parts of the oceans? Can science and technology help us improve the yield per area unit, or should we focus on wiser consumer thinking and equitable food distribution between the Western World and the population of the Third World?

 
While the controversy continues it appears that the world’s only hope of avoiding a crisis of severe hunger depends upon creative thinking and revolutionary solutions for growing food.
 
Naturally there is a local aspect to our involvement with farming and agriculture. Because more than half of Israel’s area is defined as desert, the development of arable land has been a high priority since the earliest years of the State. Geopolitical constraints and government investments led to technological advances in irrigation, local varieties of food crops, and sophisticated monitoring systems. Over the years the farming industry has undergone change to become technologically innovative. Although there are still differences of opinion regarding the level of investment and national priorities, it is clear that Israeli agriculture will continue to be a significant branch of the economy, in line with the country’s research and industry, and increasingly significant in the life of its citizens.
 
FIELDS OF TOMORROW reveals the scientific background, intensive research, and intriguing ideas being developed in Israel and the world in response to the need to deal with the issue of feeding the world.
 
Field laboratory, food laboratory, and science laboratory – these three aspects come together in the exhibition. Food crops are grown in a hothouse, a greenhouse, and cultivated areas. Artworks are included in the exhibition under the title Agripolis – a fusion of art and science.
 
Field laboratory
In no way do today’s farmers resemble those of the previous century. Armed with tablets, smart phones, a range of sophisticated applications, and advanced monitoring devices, modern farmers follow changes in growth with the dedication of paparazzi, responding swiftly and accurately to every need. Nor are today’s crops the crops of yesteryear. Attached to sensors, filmed from every angle and monitored every hour of the day, the crops have become celebrities, basking in the limelight and revealing their physiology to a host of admirers.
The field lab demonstrates the constant dialogue between farmer-researchers and field crops, by means of exact, sustainable agriculture, for the sole purpose of growing high quality products with minimal resources.
 
Food laboratory
Modern human nutrition is not balanced. It is based on too much processed food, too few fresh fruits and vegetables, and as a rule we eat more than our body needs. Nevertheless, our nutrition is typified by a wide range of food derived from vegetable sources. Whether he lives in a skyscraper or on the African plains, man’s primary nutrition includes derivatives of grains and legumes. The most common are: rice, wheat, corn, and potatoes, but in the laboratory you will also find innovative alternatives. Most of them have undergone a process of modification and improvement to adapt them to the regions where they are grown. Plant grains containing carbohydrates, protein and fat are consumed in various forms. The seeds of some strains produce flour, oil, beverages, and many other products, notably animal fodder. The focus of the food lab is the ‘biography’ of wheat, both in the local and the global context, and it also gives us a contemporary look at the development of food crops, by way of advanced technologies.
 


Science laboratory
Do you remember the old song “Old MacDonald had a farm?” There was a time when the farmer rose at the crack of dawn, picked up his hoe and set off to work in the field. Today he rises later, fixes himself a cup of coffee, picks up his tablet and settles down to find out how his crops are doing and what he should be doing for them.
The modern farmer receives computerized updates round the clock. An astonishing infrastructure of sensors, both near and far, provides accurate information about water and fertilizer levels, pests and diseases, problems and their solutions, both for the fields and for individual plants. Is there is a nitrogen shortage in one corner of the field? Tractor sensors transmit the relevant information: where and how much is required. Is there a fault in an irrigation line? A space satellite locates the problem and indicates its location via aerial photograph. A night wind has robbed an area of moisture? Meteorological data can easily identify and accurately supply what’s needed.
This is known as ‘precision agriculture.’ It harnesses the finest technological and scientific knowledge to grow the greatest number of crops using the least amount of resources, in order to successfully feed the population of the world.
 
Date Created: 13/10/16
Date Updated: 01/11/16