The average age of an apple in a U. S. grocery store
from the day it was picked until the day it gets into your mouth is 11 months.
And this is usually shocking to people and it's because we've designed the system.
The last big push for agriculture was more cheap food.
And we've optimized maybe not for the best goal:
the goal of transport, the goal of cheapness, but not the goal of nutrition.
The goal of environmental stewardship, which is now forefront in a consumer's mind,
that says, “Where did my food come from? How good is it for me?”
And those questions require so much more information.
This is Caleb Harper, a research scientist at MIT.
As the son of farmers who advised him to get out of the family business and into tech instead,
Caleb decided to merge the two worlds.
We design things that we call food computers.
And the reason I call them that is because I want to engender that imagination, that curiosity.
A food computer is essentially a box that controls and designs a climate.
If you think Star Trek or you think Willy Wonka, that's exactly what we're going for.
It's a tabletop machine and technology platform that lets you program a climate for the crop you want.
The build components and instructions are accessible and that’s exactly what Caleb and his team have in mind.
We're focused on open source technologies
because we believe that that next revolution in agriculture has to be based on open science.
That was one of the big misses from technology in the last 30 years, was keeping it proprietary, keeping it closed.
I have an IP strategy, which is to put everything in the public domain.
The Open Agriculture Initiative released their first prototype in 2015,
giving curious potential farmers a chance to experiment.
We are here to talk about how I grow food in frozen wasteland...I use a food computer.
I'll be explaining how my food computer functions.
So as you can see there, four features that were currently collecting values for it.
One of the biggest challenges we've met so far was actually the Lex fan...
They’ve tweaked the design since, and released their newest version, the PFC.
Basic tinkering skills not included.
The smallest one behind me is for, kind of, the maker, the student,
the enthusiast, the home body, the hacker, the scientist
that wants to get involved in their own house or in their own labs.
The parts include circuit boards, sensors, lights, and cameras to monitor the plant.
The seed has so much embedded technology inside of it already.
So when you take a certain set of genetics
and you put it inside of a certain phenome or climate,
it will express something.
That's called a phenotype.
We want to understand under what conditions do those genetics express flavor, nutrition, size, color.
And it has a lot more to do with its environment than its genetic predisposition.
So we design CO2, and temperature, and humidity, and light spectrum,
and light intensity, and minerality of the water, and oxygen of the water,
then trying to make sense out of what happened.