On the cramped urban campus of Boston Latin School, high-school students grow an acre’s worth of vegetables in an old shipping container that’s been transformed into a computer-controlled hydroponic farm. Using a wall-mounted keyboard or a mobile app, the student farmers can monitor their crops, tweak the climate, make it rain and schedule every ultraviolet sunrise. In a few decades, nine billion people will crowd our planet, and the challenge of sustainably feeding everybody has sparked a boom in high-tech farming that is now budding up in schools. These farms offer hands-on learning about everything from plant physiology to computer science, along with insights into the complexities and controversies of sustainability. The school farms are also incubators, joining a larger online community of farm hackers.
High tech indoor farming is on the verge of becoming a big deal. The world’s biggest indoor vertical farm is to be fully operational this year, bringing fresh produce to New York City at a lower cost while using 95% less water.