Dr. Norman Scott,
Wednesday, December 18, 2019,
The Arizona Senior Academy Building
No area of human activity is more essential to society than sustainable agriculture for production of food. Our existing agricultural production system, which has provided an abundant, affordable, safe food supply and many industrial and consumer products, now faces a daunting challenge. With a world population growing to approximately 9−10 billion people by 2050, we need to produce about 25−70% more food.
To supply our growing needs, we require a revolutionized system that functions within the important limitations of finite land availability, a worsening degradation of land for agriculture, increasing climate variability and thirst for water. At the same time, we must limit negative impacts on the environment, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and control for availability and cost of energy.
Solving these issues requires a worldwide, holistic, systematic approach that utilizes scientific discovery and technological innovation. This presentation focuses on the transformative potential of SmartAg/DigitalAg, which applies digital technologies and systems analytics to monitor and optimize key components of existing food systems. Academy Village resident Norman Scott describes the design of new systems that will increase productivity, profitability, nutritional value, climate resilience, and sustainability. As SmartAg/DigitalAg looks to the future, it can transform agriculture and natural resources, create more “new” and diversified food options, drive venture capital, trigger startups, and stimulate new food production systems (e.g., vertical farms, cultured/cellular agriculture).
Norman Scott taught and conducted bioengineering research at Cornell University and served as Vice President for Research and Advanced Studies. He focuses on sustainable development and sustainable communities with emphasis on biologically derived fuels and renewable energy. Among his numerous professional activities, he is member of the National Academy of Engineering and a past president of the Institute of Biological Engineering. He recently received the Magnolia Silver Award from the Shanghai Peoples Government (2019).
Written by Maria Dobozy, Academy Village Volunteer