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Who's Saving the Planet?

98 EpisodesProduced by Planet Savers Org. Website

Discover how the minds, methods and money that fueled the explosion of innovation and disruption in silicon valley are working to build the technology, products and companies that will save the planet. Hosts: Lex Kiefhaber and Tony Noto. Music: Bill Gagliardi.

52:42

Upward Farms: How the Plant-Gut-Brain Is Going To Heal the Earth

Soil erosion, the degradation of the health of soil through over-tilling and rampant use of chemicals, is an existential threat to our ability to grow food, sequester carbon and live in harmony with nature. In many ways, it's the whole ball game- if we're unable to arrest the dependance on techniques and chemicals that deteriorate soil health, then worse agricultural conditions will result in smaller harvests leading to more intensive and invasive agricultural processes which in turn accelerate soil erosion. 

We need to get off that train before it takes us over the agricultural cliff. Jason Green, CEO of Upward Farms, is here to do just that. 

Upward Farms is an indoor agricultural ecosystem which uses aquaponics to create controlled environments for growing plants. Essentially, it's a living laboratory dedicated to understanding the interplay between plants, microbes, and the environment in which they grow. 

The relationship of between the plants and the soil is much more complicated than a simple dichotomy. Billions of tiny microbial organisms interweave a lattice work of communication and support to bolster the health and wellbeing of a complex ecosystem in which plants grow. We're just beginning to grasp the complexity and chart the various pathways that these organisms use to communicate, defend against decease, support ailing members of their chlorophoric tribe, and perpetuate the growth of a healthy, harmonious ecosystem. 

Jason's team at Upward have committed to understanding the agricultural ecosystem with same reverence and curiosity we general reserve for ourselves, specifically that most complex of human organisms, the brain. Through their work, they aim to do much more than just grow vegetables efficiently indoors (although, that is certainly part of the business model). Theirs is an ambition to help us better understand the entire nature of a healthy agricultural ecosystem, so we can tackle that most dire and pressing threat- global soil erosion. 



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