As a trend, home gardening is explosive. TerraFarms are a space-efficient choice that use no pesticides and 97% less water. The Ogarden system is completely hassle-free and can grow up to 100 herbs and vegetables a month. However, home gardening isn’t practical everywhere — especially in colder countries. Engineers at the German Aerospace Center are now helping snowed-in communities garden, with an Antarctic farm that can grow veggies below zero.
Called the Eden-ISS, the farm exists inside a climate-controlled shipping container. The greenhouse relies on a technique called vertical farming, in which food grows on trays or hanging modules under LEDs instead of natural sunlight.
The farm is only 135 square feet and can grow vegetables in huge amounts. Amazing, considering the only means of transportation for produce deliveries is by ship or plane. Researchers plan to grow some 30 to 50 different plant species. In short, the new technology is beating the odds.
Over the past 100 years, Arctic temperatures have increased at nearly twice the global average, making it possible to grow crops in once-desolate places like Yellowknife in Canada and Greenland.
On a more impressive note, temperatures in the area can plunge as low as -100 degrees Fahrenheit. I didn’t even know it was humanly possible to exist under such conditions. Lesson learned: never underestimate the power of innovation.
Now that society is beginning to fully realize the drawbacks of food waste, change is on the horizon. Establishments are not only donating leftover food to the needy — science is playing its part in the whole thing. From apples that don’t brown, Japanese farmers have developed a banana that consumers can eat in its entirety. And yes, that includes the peel.
The [Mongee] bananas are made using a pesticide-free cultivation technique called “freeze thaw awakening”, which involves replicating a process observed in the Ice Age by keeping the fruits in temperatures as low as minus 60 degrees Celsius.
As a result, the bananas grow in less than half the time they normally would. Also, they taste much sweeter, an added bonus for sugar addicts avoiding health setbacks.
“The motivation for its development was the fact he (developer Setsuzo Tanaka) wanted to eat a banana that was delicious and safe: people can eat the peel because it is cultivated organically without chemicals.”
If you’re keen on munching on a Mongee banana outside of Japan, you’re well out of luck. They’re sold only in the Okayama Prefecture for about a cosmic $6 a piece. Now that’s bananas.
It’s when we realize our privilege that giving back becomes instinctual. When you’re a good samaritan, kindness never ages. A child might raise funds for the local shelter or a grown woman might choose to change someone’s life. Sometimes, compassion is spontaneous. Take it from subway rider Maurice Anderson, who gifted the boots off his feet to a homeless senior suffering from frostbite.
“Maurice took the shoes off his feet in the middle of a Chicago cold snap,” [said witness Jessica Bell.]
“He didn’t draw a lot of attention to it,” she said. “It was so quiet and selfless.”
The heartwarming incident was fleeting, as Anderson noticed the man’s feet were visibly calloused and bleeding. Fortunately, Anderson appeared to be traveling, as he quickly changed into a backup pair of sneakers. Despite Bell’s retelling of the story going viral, Anderson has remained humble and without comment.
“I love that in a time and place where hate and apathy are rampant, quiet compassion appears without warning,” Bell wrote.
As much as we may not think so, kind and gentle souls are always upon us — even in the most unexpected places.