Keeping cost of vegetables low while reducing CO2 emissions
The UN Environment Program concluded in 2010 that agriculture and food consumption are two of the most important drivers of environmental pressures, particularly climate change, water use and toxic emissions. While precision farming has been shown to improve agricultural efficiency, it is expensive, with precision tractors costing more than $1 million. Having affordable and adaptable technology assist in farming can reduce carbon emissions and water consumption.
FarmBot is a self-assembly robot whose parts can be purchased as a kit, or 3D-printed at home with the right equipment. Using the Arduino RAMPS stack, Raspberry Pi and open-source software, FarmBot adapts to the soil, the crops and the weather to dispense water and fertiliser, and bury weeds, as needed. Users can design their gardens on a Farmville-like app, and check in on their plants through FarmBot’s video camera and smart software.
The open-source nature of the project means that thousands of farmers, IoT fans and techies continually improve the mechanics and programs. FarmBot can also be taken off-grid with solar panels and a water collection system.
FarmBot-grown veggies produce 25% fewer CO2 emissions and are 30% more affordable when the machine cost is paid for in installments over five years.