For a long time, I maintained that the shift towards decentralization is a paradigm shift that extends outside the digital world. In fact, it is advancements in technology that is allowing for the large move towards decentralization.
Much of the last century saw the centralization of everything. One area that this is evident is in the production of food.
The entire industry is centralized where food is produced a long way from where it is consumed, which results in long range transportation. That adds to the cost while also affecting the environment through pollution. Another factor is the fact that food is not as fresh.
We also see a large supply chain that is involved in the process.
Here is where technology enters the picture.
Vertical and hydrophonic farming are causing a shift in where the food we consume is produced.
QFC, a part of the Kroger family, started to offer the first vertical farming in its stores. This was done in two locations but will expand over the next two quarters. The company claims the program is a huge success. Everything that is grown in the stores has been sold.
These are believed to be the first in-store vertical farms in the United States. The company that developed the farms says there are over 500 installed globally.
InFarm is a German startup that developed the mini-farms. The ones in the QFC stores are able to grow 9 varieties of lettuce and herbs.
This is all part of a process where we see technology making things smaller and less expensive. The products that are grown in the mini-farms are about the same price as organic food sold in the store.
One of the questions is where does this idea go in the future? Obviously, we could see an impact if every grocery store contained these mini-farms. However, a huge shift could take place if the prices dropped enough so they could be afforded for at home use.
As we see, the production of food is being pushed further out. What is a trickle right now might ending up being a major paradigm shift.
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