I expect that for many, the first thing that comes to mind when you think of agricultural crops is vegetables and fruit. It’s what we know – and what we have heard about for decades. When we think of farming, we think of food. However, there is so much more to this important industry.
Think about other things that can be grown such as plant-based medicines – including vaccines, as well as meat replacement and protein products – all of which are helping to revolutionize their respective sectors. We are in a period of AgTech innovation unlike anything we have seen in our lifetimes. It is incredible and exciting.
Recently, I learned of a radical new crop – plant-based leather, which can be used in sneakers. Adidas is working on a leather substitute based on mycelium – the tubular filaments, often underground, that make up the vegetative systems of fungi (mushrooms and truffles are their fruiting body). Mycelium could replace leather not just in sneakers but throughout your wardrobe, suggests Vogue. And it could be the ideal way.
“Leather’s environmental impact is the elephant in the room, plain and simple,” writes Emily Farra. “Nearly every bag, shoe, AirPod case, harness, and other little add-on we see this month will be made of leather, but we’d never notice because that’s the norm. We don’t tend to consider leather as part of the sustainability conversation.”
Although faux leather spares animals and emits no methane, it doesn’t biodegrade so well. Nor does animal leather, for that matter. It’s been treated so that it doesn’t decompose in your closet.
At AgriFORCE, we are always focused on new and innovative uses for plants. It’s clear that fungi are stepping into mainstream consciousness in a dramatic way. It’s increasingly used in other products, including packaging, beauty products, light fixtures and construction materials. One woman used it to grow her wedding dress. Recently, there was an interesting piece that talks about mycelium as an alternative to packing made out of styrofoam. What about fungi as medicine? One word: penicillin. The opportunities seem endless.
Of course, growing materials for textiles and furniture isn’t that radical: Think of cotton and pine. But when precision, purity and sustainability are paramount, it makes us sit up and take notice.
Ingo Mueller, CEO for AgriFORCE Growing Systems, is currently working from his home office in North Vancouver, British Columbia. He continues to connect with the AgriFORCE team, strategic partners and others around the world – whether that is in California, New York or several other states where AgriFORCE has business interests. He is also in constant contact with our partners in Europe, as we raise the flag there for AgriFORCE and the company’s unique (and proprietary) facility design and automated growing system.
The Notes from the CEO happen when Ingo gets a bit of time to share his perspective on the world of AgTech, the AgriFORCE team, work/life balance, and his vision for creating positive change in the world.