One of the coolest, and most thought-provoking, experiences of The Walt Disney World experience thus far is the greenhouse ride at the Living with the Land attraction in Epcot. By focusing on renewable farming techniques and applying best-practices in technology, the researchers and scientists that work in this facility have been able to dramatically increase crop yields in low-soil environments, engineering tomato plants that produce up to 35,000 tomatoes in 16 months, 9 pound lemons, lettuce plants that produce tens of thousands of heads of lettuce, and even fish and alligators.
What I find particularly interesting is the implications for space colonization (no that isn’t a joke). If the facility could ever become self-powering, perhaps with some sort of nuclear reactor, a self-sufficient bio-dome would be entirely possible. There would be adjustments for gravity force that would need to be made. Why aren’t our tax dollars going to research stuff like this? World hunger could be essentially eliminated and mankind’s greatest asset – our combined intellectual capacity – could be freed to focus on other problems, such as engineering and biology.
Why couldn’t the Walt Disney Company create a subsidiary, let’s say Disney Foods, LLC, and begin a prototype greenhouse in the middle of the country, producing enormous quantities of food and selling to suppliers? They would have the resources to compete with an Archer Daniels Midland. If they just wanted to continue their food research, they could create a 501(c)3 instead, Disney Food Pantry, and give all of the harvest away to food banks, while raising donations to hire scientists and researchers. That is the type of thing I would joyfully write a check to support. There is so much to think about here … this is probably going to be one of those “big idea” moments in my life that will result in some action 10 or 20 years from now that will seem like it happened overnight but instead was the result of me thinking this over … it’s just awesome.