Here’s a startling statistic: By the year 2050, global food production will need to double – using less energy and water than is used today.
“If we use the same amount of energy that we use to produce food now,” says Rick Foster, of Michigan State University’s MetroFoodPlus
, “we would tip the rate of global warming to beyond where it should be. We’ll run out of water; we’ll run out of petroleum.”
MSU researchers believe they have found an ideal environment to figure out just how to address this future problem, while addressing a more current one.
“If we can think of Detroit as one of those learning laboratories,” says Foster, “we can use it as a place where we can improve upon the local condition, improve the quality of life, create jobs, and actually position Detroit to be a thought leader around these conditions.”
The MetroFoodPlus Innovation Cluster @ Detroit is a new research partnership between the City of Detroit and MSU. Mayor Dave Bing and MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon recently signed a memorandum of understanding that will lay the groundwork for involving community stakeholders and prospective partners in the project.
“We want to work with the community to think about how we go about both research and innovation,” Foster says. “And how can MSU help people utilize new technologies to grow enough food for not only Detroit but also enough to be transported elsewhere.”
The Innovation Cluster @ Detroit officially began this week with community stakeholder meetings at MSU’s Tollgate Center. According to Foster, the initial goals of the program will be to test local soils for contamination, and will grow into developing vertical indoor growing facilities.