Category Archives: japan

In the Bigger Picture….

7 Recommended Agricultural Links ○ ○ ○

1 . AGRICULTURAL CONTRIBUTOR: Here’s a Nobel prize winner worth reading about if you’ve never heard of him: Artturi Virtanen. Among other things, he was promoting biological nitrogen fixation prior to 1940.

By Susanne Dambeck for Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

2 . BIOFUELS ARE THE ULTIMATE FOOD WASTE: A new working paper from WRI again informs the world that biofuels are not green.

By Andrew Steer and Craig Hanson for WRI

3 . FOODIE TAKEDOWN: Here’s a takedown of the “foodies”. (I am equally dismayed by all of the food waste shallow-thinking headlines that bombard us these days.)

By Michael Roberts for Greed, Green, and Grains

4 . BIOLACQUER: In Europe, they are using tomato skins by-product to coat metal food container cans for safety and sustainability.


5 . JAPANESE INDOOR VERTICAL FARM: This short video is worth watching if indoor cutting edge lettuce growing fascinates you. It features Japan’s CNG City Farm.

from Horti Daily

6 . EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN: Pollan about the future frontier of psychedelics in medicine.

by Michael Pollan for the New Yorker

7 . POPULATION MAPS: Discussions about the future of food production mean little if we ignore these maps.

By Megan Willett for Business Insider

These links were selected by Kay McDonald. Note that Wednesday Editions of “In the Bigger Picture…” focus on general and business related subjects and Friday Editions focus on grassroots subjects. For continually updated news about agriculture, please utilize the news feeds on the right sidebar here, and on the “Latest Ag News” tab above.

Largest LED Vegetable Growing Factory in the World Opened in Japan in 2014

After the Great Earthquake that Japan experienced in 2011, it has repurposed a Sony Corporation semiconductor factory located in the northeast region’s Miyagi Prefecture and turned it into the world’s largest indoor farm illuminated by LEDs. General Electric reports that they developed the LED fixtures which emit light at wavelengths optimal for plant growth used in the indoor farm.

Another company involved in the project, Mirai Co., based in Tokyo, runs vegetable growing factories. This new growing indoor plant operation is on about 2,300 square meters of land and is able to produce 10,000 heads of lettuce plus other vegetables per day. The produce will be sold to local supermarkets.

The hope is to build more factories similar to this one in other parts of Japan. The LED lights reduce electricity consumption by 40 percent as compared to fluorescent lighting and can use spectrum specific light for optimal growing of the vegetables.

The combined venture further intends to export produce to other nations as well as export the entire growing factory set ups and technology. They have already received requests to do so.

For further information see:

3 Picks: SD Cattle Catastrophy, Japan’s Groundwater, Sustainable Barn

Below, are today’s three chosen agricultural-related news picks.

1) Catastrophic Early Snowstorm Kills Thousands of Cattle in South Dakota: By Chet Brokaw. “‘It’s the worst early season snowstorm I’ve seen in my lifetime.’ Early estimates suggest western South Dakota lost at least 5 percent of its cattle. Some individual ranchers reported losses of 20 percent to 50 percent of their livestock.’ …”

2) Japanese Municipalities’ are Creating Initiatives to Conserve Groundwater: By Junji Hashimoto. In Japan, where they have been using more groundwater since the 2011 earthquake, farmers and municipalities are working together and creating ordinances to use groundwater in conjunction with monitoring recharge rates. Through methods of cooperation, and a recharge calculation formula which reduces water fees when greater amounts of groundwater are recharged, they are smartly planning for the future.

3) UK’s Award-winning eco-build slashes thousands from farm’s running costs: “…by combining modern technology with traditional materials like sheep fleece and straw, it is possible to create a sustainable rural building that not only has a very low carbon footprint it is also saving many thousands of pounds in running costs. … Materials used in the construction and for running the building were sourced from the fields of the Allerton Project farm, including straw for the walls and sheep fleece for insulation. Wood chip harvested from the estate’s own woodland provide fuel for the biomass boiler to heat the hot water and the thermostatically zoned under-floor heating. Rainwater is collected for the toilets and showers, while sixteen roof-mounted solar photovoltaic panels provide electrical power to the building…”

This news post was written and compiled by K. McDonald.

Photo credit: Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust