As climate change shifts fertile land to new terroirs, clever growers are turning to technology that is advanced but also ancient to optimize for a sustainable crop.

In Calabria, Italy, farmers are harnessing solar power to protect their climate-stressed lemon and citrus trees. Literally, in fact: Antonio Lancellotta and his father Mario grow their citrus trees beneath their solar farms. The practice, called agrivoltaics, allows farmers to collect solar power and protect their crops from harsh sun exposure, benefitting people and planet in one sunny landscape.

Small farmers and gardeners in Arizona are switching to indigenous farming methods in order to continue growing crops amidst a long, enduring drought. After the government cut water allotments from the drying Colorado River, many residents are adapting their lawns to use less water and grow more produce. Gardeners are using permaculture techniques such as drip irrigation, composting, and rainwater collection to support their carefully curated ecosystems of plants, fruits, trees, and livestock. The collective effort has forged communities of people of all ages, races, economic standpoint, and political background, uniting a diverse group of constituents behind one common cause.

Similarly, growing numbers of farmers across the world are revisiting an ancient Italian practice to combat drought and harsh heat this summer, raising livestock in pastures lined with trees in a cooperative ecosystem that benefits flora and fauna. In silvopasture, fallen fruit, grass, and trees feed livestock, whose waste then acts as manure to fertilize the trees, and that cycle continues. Additionally, the trees protect the animals from the harsh sun and weather due to changing climate conditions.

View to a bright blue sky through lemon trees
Lemon groves, Dan Gold via Unsplash.

Turning to the beverage industry, new tech from OakScan is allowing bourbon distillers and makers like Penelope Bourbon to better understand the chemical composition of woods to enhance the aging process. The technology, when compared to traditional barrel-aging techniques, makes the process more sustainable, more accurate, and more consistent. The flavor profile of aged bourbon depends on the chemical composition and levels of tannins in the barrels, but this can vary, even in the same forest. Customers can select wood from different forests and OakScan will replicate the desired terroir by building the tannin profile, delivering flavor every time without using the wood itself.

The Intelligence Take

Seasoned farmers and local gardeners alike are searching for new methods to optimize their crop and pastures in changing climates, leaning on everything from modern technology to indigenous techniques to support the fruits of their labor. These advancements continue to evolve, proving there is room for tech to expand in the fields of crops and produce.

Please provide your contact information to continue.

Before submitting your information, please read our Privacy Policy as it contains detailed information on the processing of your personal data and how we use it.

Related Content

HERO Detail 2 coffee plant in palermo

The new terroir

Climate change is having a seismic impact on global agriculture, making previously fertile places untenable and creating new northern growth areas for crops.
Read Article
HERO Bespoken Stu and Martin 1

Stu Aaron and Martin Janousek, founders, Bespoken Spirits

"Our company is a cross between 23andMe, Nespresso and Impossible Foods."
Read Article