Introduction to Exponential Thinking – Part 1.3


Last week we left off after the history of agriculture and the summary that despite the times it is a fascinating time to be alive thanks to this exponential technology…

Steps on the path to that day:

This is all very exciting, and certainly a little idealistic.  But what better time for idealism than at the start of a new year?  We can cultivate a world of food security.  The technologies already exist.  The demand for fresh food exists.  All that we need are the brave few who want to claim this opportunity.  Those who want to grow to their fullest potential and take part in the explosive climb we are about to see in food production.

 

So what can you do to take part in this epic transitional period?

 

Want to make a living by feeding your community?  We need to increase the number of farms and farmers right now.  The average age of farmers has been climbing steadily year after year across our nation and if we don’t start making new farmers, there will literally be no one to grow our food.  This is an amazing opportunity for any new farmer who wants to get in early. With these new technologies, you don’t have to be a fourth generation farmer to be successful or own acres of land.

We can improve the local food infrastructure to support large numbers of diverse local producers networked together in a symbiotic food ecosystem. Using modern technology like mobile applications and artificial intelligence, we will seamlessly synchronize farms across the network with a crowdsourced labor force of harvesters, aggregators, and transporters.  

Additionally, innovations must be made to expand the capabilities of aquaponics and other sustainable methods of farming to produce the cereal crops we are all accustomed to.  We must improve methods of growing cereal crops beyond specialty crops like greens and herbs.  This billion dollar opportunity is yours for the taking…

Above all else, we need YOU to get growing today!  Getting more people growing with aquaponics is the number one way to speed up innovation and get larger sets of data for the industry.  Frankly, it is easier than ever before to start up your own aquaponics system.  When I first started there were a handful of youtube videos and one reputable book.  Now, just a few short years later, there are dozens of forums, a worldwide network of educators, and many books and scientific articles on aquaponics.  What will it be like just a few short years from now?

In fact, in the last year, many new aquaponics systems hit the market.  This was one of the first waves of aquaponics entering the general population, emerging from the deceptive stage of university studies and garage-based DIY tinkerers.  In the next year, we will see a ton of new products come to the market, we have a few planned for release ourselves at Trifecta Ecosystems.  We “soft-launched” two products in 2016, both of which have had great initial reception.  After a few more rounds of beta-testing, we will be releasing to systems to the public to get involved in this new era of food production. We’re set to release a whole host of new resources through our new website. We will be hosting events and workshops from our new urban facility set to open at the end of the first quarter. It has been an exciting year and we are looking to make the next one even better. We hope this year you’ll join us and take part in the revolution through buying locally produced fresh foods or growing your own food and educating yourself and others on this new era of food abundance we are traveling towards.

As more and more people take the leap into the growth opportunity of the century, the pace of progress will accelerate further thanks to recursive growth.  Are you ready to do your part in this age of abundance?

Here’s to your growth in 2017!

 

However, there was one topic I didn’t get to talk about as much as I’d like, technology.  Now, of course, we are an aquaponics farm.  Aquaponics is an advanced technology in and of itself, the offspring of hydroponics and aquaculture.  Aquaponics has many applications and unique values that differentiate it from either traditional hydroponics or aquaculture.  

Many aquaponic farmers are popping up, hoping to take advantage of the epic productivity gains achieved with aquaponics. However, their competitive advantage from aquaponics alone will slowly fade away as this amazing technology catches on with wider appeal.  

This is why it is vital to understand that new technologies don’t replace skill, they only empower and enhance it.  Relying on any one individual technological advantage will eventually spell doom for your farm or company.

Remember Kodak?  They relied on their development chemicals and film too heavily and ignored up and coming solutions like digital cameras.  This resulted in the eventual bankruptcy of Kodak.  The irony: the first digital camera was created in Kodak’s own labs.  The executives were too blinded by their reliance on a sole technology and weren’t able to adapt to a new one.

The lesson?  Technology is vital to the sustainable growth of every industry, but reliance on any single technology can quickly ruin you.  Reliance on just aquaponics alone will only yield you a temporary advantage in today’s farmer’s market.  

That is why I strongly urge all aquaponic farmers and gardeners of all sizes: tap into the abundance of exponential technologies that are transforming the world we live in.

 

What is an Exponential Technology?

Exponential technologies, like the internet, solar power, and computing power, are changing the way the world operates. In fact, some people define an exponential technology as any technology that will disrupt or otherwise change the way society operates on a larger scale.  We’re talking smart-agriculture, social media, 3d printing, virtual reality, and other amazing, futuristic advances that fundamentally change how the world works.

 

Wait, isn’t technology bad for the environment?

Historically, technology has increased pollution and devastation wherever it has gone.  In the quest for expansion, fossil fuels and other unsustainable practices have provided growth at a grave cost.

Technologies are only tools, used for both good and for bad.  Oil powers our world and pollutes it at the same time.  Spying and illegal surveillance is an abuse of networked data collection.  Hacking to steal credit card information from innocent people is an abuse.  We must recognize the difference between abusive uses of technology and the technology itself.

Also, by their very nature, some technologies are unsustainable and damaging.  These include fossil fuel production, conventional commercial farming, and commercial fishing.  These technologies were vital to getting us to the point we are in now.  Without them, who knows where we’d be.  However, we must now take stock of where we are and create new technologies that can replace the fundamentally destructive ones.

We are on the cusp of a new industrial revolution that is inspired by the idea that technology doesn’t have to harm the environment, but can fundamentally benefit our planet by its very existence.  Paul Hawken, the author of Natural Capitalism, lays out many fundamental benefits of this new greener industrial revolution.

A new generation is coming of age.  This generation grew up instilled with the ideas of sustainable growth and organic practices in daily life.  This has led to an incredible advancement in green technologies, including solar power, green cars, and aquaponics.  This trend will continue as green technologies become the norm, due to their economic incentives, environmental impact, and social benefits.

 

How are these technologies shaping the world today?

Exponential technologies are already reshaping our world.  Cloud computing is opening access to the most powerful computers to the general public.  3d printing lets anyone create directly from their imagination to the real world.  Sensors and networks are creating information revolutions that will help aquapioneers design the perfect aquaponics system.  Online teachers like YouTube, Khan Academy, and Udemy are teaching millions a day in topics ranging from cat-haberdashery to zombie apocalypse readiness.

These same platforms are bringing aquaponics to the public in totally novel ways.  Learn all you need from virtual mentors, get digital “hands-on-experience” through video courses, and interact socially with other aquapioneers in online communities.  Of course, this will never replace the in-person, live, hands-on approach, but online access is bringing aquaponics to exponentially more people every day than what would be capable otherwise.  This is how aquaponics will expand its scope so fast.

 

What in the world does this have to do with Aquaponics?

I believe, and I bet you do too, that aquaponics is an exponential technology, capable of bringing sweeping changes to our planet.  What if anyone could grow food for themselves, their families and even their communities?  What if farming was democratized, with farms distributed across the population?  What if it was easy enough that anyone interested could take part in the local food ecosystem to create food security for their community?  

Aquaponics is a major piece of this food ecosystem puzzle.  However, as we’ve learned from examples like Kodak, we cannot rely on just one innovation and hope for the best.  In order for aquaponics to really make the impact, it is capable of delivering, we must couple it with other exponential technologies.  What will the future of food look like when all aquaponics systems are integrated with a sensor network?  What will we learn from this data?  I believe that this data will reveal the best practices necessary to allow anyone using a smart aquaponics system to grow like a pro.  

Ask any aquapioneer out there, how’d you first hear about aquaponics?  The answer, nine times out of ten is, “I learned about it on the internet”.  I know I first found it through Google and quickly expanded that search to YouTube.  The internet is breaking down barriers to education with free video content, professional level online courseware, and action plans/blueprints you can learn to grow with the certainty of success.  Five or ten years ago, these resources were squirreled away at various universities and the conversations were limited to local events at best.  Now there are many online communities to dive into, each offering different value to the searcher.  My point here is that aquaponics is an industry that is really getting its start in the digital age.  Thanks to the exponential technology of the internet, Aquaponics is poised for massive expansion as the term aquaponics gains wider acceptance and recognition.  

 

How are aquaponics and other sustainable technologies converging with exponential technologies to make the world a better place?

We all know the massive impact Aquaponics has for anyone interested in growing more food in a sustainable way, but what will it look like as these exponential technologies converge?  

Smart systems, powered by the sensor and network technology, will give the new gardener a user interface to interact with the garden in a whole new way.  Be alerted to nutrient deficiencies before they become a problem, and get a text to your phone if the power goes out so you can stop it from flooding everywhere.  

Run your system sustainably with solar power with affordable leases on solar panels.  Store that solar energy in your very own Tesla battery and maintain system operations day in and day out.  

Use plant tracking software like Rob Torcellini’s TrackMyPlants and Bright Agrotech’s Able system to measure your success.  Then add in sensors and cloud networking to track your system’s health over time.  Using these technologies, anyone can leverage the thousands of collective experiences of farmers throughout the network.

Eventually, we can schedule food pickups and deliveries with app services like Amazon’s AmazonFresh will bring fresh produce directly to you from growers in your area.  Maybe you’ll get our next salad delivered by a drone!  

 

What are some ways you can utilize these technologies for yourself?

These and even more futuristic sounding occurrences are actually all possible today, using existing technology.  

At Trifecta, we just started using the Able platform, which was created by our friends over at Bright Agrotech.  We use it to track all of our plants from seeding through all stages of growth.   This lets us track production rates alongside the system variables so we can hone in on the perfect conditions for our plants.  Remember, the key to aquaponics is honoring the living system and creating an environment in which our microbial employees can thrive!

We are also using cutting edge LED lighting technology (in our winter and indoor growing systems) from a local company called Agrivolution.  LED technology is growing by leaps and bounds, making lights cheaper and more effective at the same time.  With the latest generation lights, we can affordably light our farms in the winter and interior spaces.

We also use the internet to connect with other like-minded aquapioneers.  My number one tip for using exponential technologies is to tap into the power of the crowd in aquaponics.  Use resources like YouTube and Facebook and connect with the many groups dedicated to aquaponics.  

As a reader of our site, you also get FREE access to my private social mastermind, which I host on the amazing Slack platform.  Online communities are hands down the most powerful benefit to the Aquapioneer because you get unfiltered access to a wide variety of growers from all experience levels.  We use slack because it breaks down barriers, allowing everyone to interact together in an unrestrained way.  It’s also totally ad-free and doesn’t profit off your data like Facebook or Google.  It’s pretty cool and the community is growing every day.  You can claim your FREE access, just click this link.

Exponential Technologies Enable Aquaponic Abundance

We’ve only grazed the surface of the potential of aquaponic abundance.  In the coming months, we will continue our exploration into the technology behind sustainable food ecosystems and aquaponic abundance.  We will take the deep dive into renewable energy tech, smart agriculture, online learning, and more. We will report on these technologies and how they are enabling us or other growers in our network to grow more for less. We’ll keep our readers updated on the best ways to get growing and stay ahead of the curve in this industry.  

 

Conclusion

 

It’s a fast-paced world out there and it isn’t likely to slow down. In fact, as we learned today we are just getting started and we are actually about to accelerate. It’s important that we embrace this shift and understand that these new tools will make our lives easier, enable more people to succeed on their own terms, and bring opportunity and food to those it was previously unavailable too. We are living in the most exciting time in human history and our future as a planet is brighter than ever. Critical to that future is our willingness to embrace innovation and sustainability and not stay rooted in the ways of our past that our hurting our health and our planet. We look to be leading the way for others and will do everything in our ability to enable others to do the same.


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