From The Hustle
To make a table, you typically need to grow a tree and chop it down -- among other things -- before you can sell it in a store.
But researcher Luis Fernando Velásquez-García and his team at MIT have another idea:
Recently, the researchers developed a way to grow wood-like fibers in a lab, without soil or sunlight.
The team’s method works by extracting cells from the zinnia plant and culturing them “in a liquid growth medium” to “metabolize and proliferate.”
We’re not gonna pretend we know what that means -- but it's supposedly similar to 3D printing. Only here, the plant cells “print” themselves into molds.
If the researchers find a way to scale production at the right price -- and they’re a long way off -- then the potential to save trees globally is endless.
Currently, an area where indoor planting does make sense is vertical farming, a budding industry that raised $945m in 2019 VC funding.
Vertical farms layer plants on massive shelves and use solar power, infrared cameras, and other sensors to adjust environmental conditions. These systems support 24/7 growth, generating 350x the produce with < 5% of the water needed for outdoor farms.
Unfortunately, growing a table from scratch is still a ways away. But once it’s available, we’ll be the first in line.