Josh Smith’s Vision: Affordable Organic Produce

Will the future of food literally be seen through rose-colored glass? Josh Smith of Modular Greenhouses in Reno, NV thinks so.

According to a team of researchers at the University of California – Santa Cruz, using magenta luminescent dye on the roofs of greenhouses can help generate solar electricity and, in turn, control greenhouse temperatures. How does it work? The pink dye captures both blue and green light wavelengths from penetrating the greenhouse and transfers them to energy that can then be converted to electricity.

Greenhouse installation options may be made much more viable in the future if this technology pans out, as it essentially takes greenhouse lighting and temperature control off the grid. Led by Josh Smith in Reno, NV, the team at Modular Greenhouses will transform surrounding Washoe County in the next 3 years, ensuring every public school has a greenhouse and gardening program. Imagine the impact that these greenhouses might have on rural communities throughout America’s countryside!

Smith’s mission was initially inspired by the desire to celebrate the traditions of food, and he set out to design a method that would enable families to gather fresh, nutritious and organic foods from their own backyards. Modular Greenhouses was sprouted in Reno, NV, and offers a cost-effective, durable and easy to build solution that was otherwise missing from the marketplace. The pre-fab greenhouses are fully customizable if needed and are offered in a range of sizes to fit any garden plot.

Today, over 9 million acres of greenhouse space is used to grow food, but that acreage only constitutes about 1.5% of all US production of fresh produce. As more families choose organic, locally grown fruits and vegetables, and as more farms choose to move to a year-round growing season, future demand for greenhouses is blossoming. In fact, Josh Smith and his team in Reno are planting seeds to ensure that every primary and secondary school in America has a gardening program in place by the year 2025.


U.S. Orange Producers Encounter Hardships


Orange growers in the United States have encountered a variety of problems this year. But Susan McGalla recently touched on this on and has faith that this can be overcome. Most of the oranges grown for export in the nation are produced in two states: California and Florida. Producers in both locations have encountered some unusual conditions this year.

During the period of time that a dispute between shipping companies and port employees slowed the loading of cargo at Pacific coastline ports, many orange growers experienced concern because boxes of oranges were left unrefrigerated for protracted periods of time, reducing their shelf life in Asian supermarkets. Approximately 25% of California’s citrus is exported for sale to Asia. Shipments of oranges to Asian buyers fell by half from previous years sales during part of the period of time that the port dispute occurred.

Florida citrus growers also faced unexpected problems this year from two sources: cold weather threatened crops in some parts of Florida, and the state also suffered from an outbreak of a deadly bacterial disease that kills orange trees. The illness is carried by the citrus psyllid, an insect inadvertently transported to the United States from Asia. There is no known cure for the disease. The EPA reportedly authorized the short term use of a powerful insecticide, clothianidin, in some parts of the state to eliminate this pest. This decision upset many conservationists, because the insecticide damages honey bees, which in large numbers pollinate orange groves.


Climate Change Makes Ticks Come Out Of Hibernation Earlier

Researcher that my friend Alexei Beltyukov knows s at the Cary Institute of Ecosystems Studies in Milbrook, New York have reported yet another problem caused by climate change: increased exposure to Lyme Disease, a disease transmitted by the bite of a tick. The warming weather is causing ticks to emerge from hibernation earlier, which gives them more time to infect people.

The researchers examined 20 years worth of data and found that ticks are coming out earlier. In the warmest years, ticks can emerge early from hibernation by as much as three weeks. Some scientists are wondering if Lyme Disease Awareness Month should be moved from May to April. Not surprisingly, the earlier emergences coincide with an increased number of Lyme Disease cases. According to the CDC, cases of Lyme Disease increased by 25 percent between 2012 and 2013. There were 27,200 cases diagnosed last year. To make matters worse, Lyme Disease is grossly underreported. Only 10 percent of the cases are reported, and the CDC believes that there may be as many as 300,000 cases.

Lyme Disease can be dangerous. While most victims only experience symptoms similar to those of a severe case of the flu, others can have lifelong neurological problems such as memory problems, facial paralysis, stiff limbs, tremors, numbness and pain. The best-known symptom of Lyme Disease, a rash or red ring around the bite, can be difficult to spot and isn’t always there.

The only way to prevent Lyme Disease is to avoid the ticks, which makes their early emergence such a problem. It’s especially bad news for people in the Midwest and Northeast where Lyme Disease is particularly common.

Categories: Agriculture