OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Localizing Food Production in Clark County Nevada

People in Clark County can grow their own food year round by using climate controlled hydroponic green houses.

Photo of Collin Moshedi
1 0

Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Applied Plant Technologies, LLC

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • Under 1 year

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Bethesda, MD

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

United States of America

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Clark County, Nevada

What country is your selected Place located in?

United State of America

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Clark County Nevada was selected because of its high population density and lack of arable land. It is the perfect test area for the technologies I am developing.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

-13th most populous county in the USA

-One of the fastest growing counties

-Arid/ Desert Climate

-21.4% Foreign Born: Most Common countries of origin = Mexico, Philippines, El Salvador

-Childhood Food Insecurity rate = %20

-Dependent on surrounding states for food imports

-Large restaurant scene because of Las Vegas being the center of the county

-Diverse population

-Access to locally grown crops is limited by the climate

-Dependent on the shrinking lake mead for water

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)

20878

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?

2231647

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Current Challenges: 

-Access to Fresh Food

-High transportation costs

-High spoilage rates


Future Challenges:

-Water Scarcity

-Large population size




Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Hydroponics technology reduces water usage and allows for more efficient production

Localized production reduces transportation and spoilage costs


High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

The goal is to have the people of Clark County not be dependent on other states for their food demands. Localizing food production will make the region more resistant to climate change and population increases. 

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

Current Method: Soil Based Farming

Environment:

-Heavy water, pesticide, fertilizer, and fuel usage poison our ecosystems

-Monocultures threaten biodiversity and soil fertilizer

Diets:

-Insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, larvicides, are absorbed by the crops and eventually ingested by humans

-Nutrient depletion in soils results in crops containing less nutrient content

-Transportation from farm to table causes nutrient loss (Most produce loses 30% of nutrients 3 days after harvest, Some spinach loses 90% of vitamin c after 24 hours)

Economics:

-Current agricultural methods lack resilience to rapid climate and weather changes, changes in regional climates decrease the reliability of farms to produce food. 

-Many farms struggle to stay profitable due to high startup, transportation, storage, and spoilage costs

Culture:

-Cuisine is a foundational aspect of a group's culture. Natively grown spices, and vegetables, and fruit make peoples dishes unique. Climate change and environmental damage are driving many of these ingredients to extinction.

Technology:

-Advances in pesticides, genetic modification, and harvesting techniques have done wonders for global food security. But we are discovering how these high-input techniques are not sustainable, our soils and ecosystems are struggling to absorb the large amounts of waste and carbon produced by these farms.

Policy:

-Current subsidies are outdated and reinforce traditional techniques. These policies often favor large industrial sized farms and squeeze out smaller family farms.


Vision: Localized food production using hydroponic Greenhouses.


Environment:

-Clark County and its surrounding areas could soon be facing a serious water crisis. If this happens farms in California could lose production capabilities leading to food shortages in Nevada. Hydroponics is a viable solution because it uses less water, less fertilizer, less pesticides all while using zero soil.

-Reduced inputs and waste means less damage to our environment.

-Having lots of localized hydroponics farms reduces energy spent on transportation 

-Less transportation distances means less spoilage and waste

Diets:

-Reduced pesticide usage translates into cleaner food for consumption

-Because the micro-climate in a hydroponic system can be tightly controlled this means a wider variety of crops can be grown, contributing to a more diverse diet

-Precise controls on the nutrient content in the water that feeds the plants ensures that the crops contain the ideal nutrient profile for consumption.

-Having food produced closer to its point of consumption reduces nutrient loss and maximizes freshness 

Economics:

-Hydroponic systems can be scaled from single plant to large thousand plant operations

-If implemented correctly hydroponic farms can yield higher profit margins than traditional farms. Hydroponic farms benefit from: reduced input costs (H20, nutrients, pesticides), higher yields, year round production, and lower overhead costs

-Implementation of hydroponic farms can be done incrementally, massive startup costs aren’t required to start sustainable farms.

-Plants grown in the hydroponic greenhouses are less likely to be ruined by changes in weather or disease.

-Ability to grow polyculture means production is flexible and can adapt to market demands.

Culture:

-Localizing production increases the food security of communities protecting their stability and independence.

-The microclimate inside a hydroponic system can be adjusted to grow a variety of unique ingredients by simulating different conditions. 

-This capability allows people to maintain their native cuisines. 

-Brings a wider variety of spices, herbs, vegetables, and fruit to communities, helping to enrich the culture

-Gives restaurants a wider selection of ingredients

Technology:

-Hydroponics and greenhouse technology needs to become cheaper to increase adoption

Policy:

-If climate change persists at current rates; food production may not be able to keep up with demand

-Clark County is particularly vulnerable due to its dense population, and geographic isolation from arable land

-The Local, and state governments of the region have a vested interest in ensuring that Clark County retains its food security, as famine and food shortages could lead to civil unrest

-Governments at all levels are recommended to increase funding for the research and development of farming technology that is resistant to changes in climate

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Website

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Comment
Spam
Photo of Alana Libow
Team

Hi Collin Moshedi! Welcome to the Food System Vision Prize. A friendly reminder in the final hours to update submissions (due by 2pm PST/5pm EST):

Check your vision to our checklist: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1o8WGMus6-V8GywWdlNwmCpk7I1fMVzcQ/view