What will you eat on Mars?

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Israel agtech company flux aims to feed hungry astronauts with novel “plant language translation” technology


Internet entrepreneur and Silicon Valley icon Elon Musk has declared he is sending humans to Mars. But who will feed them? Leading Israeli agritech companies, along with hackers, foodies, past members from the Israel Space Agency and international guests from Holland are devising the way. They are calling themselves Mars Farmers, and will meet for the first time in Jaffa, Wednesday December 14 to lay the groundwork for creating farms and food for hungry astronauts and Martians. Join them here.

The group is led by the Israeli-American agriculture startup flux (www.fluxiot.com), which has created a device called Eddy that listens to the language of plants, allowing people to grow hyper-personalized and sustainable food; and Holland’s Border Labs, a futuristic think-tank working with the European Space Agency on devising ultra-efficient ways to grow food on earth and in the toughest conditions in Space.

All the talk of missions to Mars are enrapturing the brightest minds in tech,” says Blake Burris, the CEO of flux. “It’s time for us humans to get out of our circular way of thinking. To make radical, disruptive change to our broken food system, we’ve made a beeline for Space.

“Going in that trajectory challenges to innovate in the toughest conditions in the Universe, and the fruits of such thinking leads to novel approaches we can apply to live in symbiosis with plants and our food on Earth.

“We are taking the lead in this space will empower the first farmers on Mars,” says Burris.


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The meeting scheduled in Jaffa (http://fluxiot.com/marse.io/) will include workshops to create an open-source standards for collecting earth data, as well as building blueprints for vertical farms that could work in Tel Aviv, Chicago, Toronto –– and on Mars. The intent is to use the forum to begin new initiatives in food and sustainable cities that will be suitable for Mars but also be directly applicable to life on the Blue Planet.

Karin Kloosterman, originally from Canada, founded flux with an Israeli R&D team to take the best of Israel’s military smarts to create benevolent technologies that can feed humans more sustainably. She is also the founder of Green Prophet. The company’s first product is focused on hydroponics, or growing food on treated water, with no dirt.

“Hydroponics is the most progressive way to grow food and medicine, and it will be the only way to feed people on Mars,” says Kloosterman, who explains that while it’s still just catching on in Israel, it’s widely accepted in countries like Canada and the US: “Innovation that’s created in this space has radical implications for business too: in cultivating raw materials for pharmaceuticals, personalized food, and of course, food that’s rich in variety and full of flavor.

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Karin Kloosterman presents Eddy at Geektime’s annual conference. flux was chosen to be one of Israel’s top 10 startups in 2016.

“To consumers, think about how fun it could be to grow food you love, but with specific flavors and characteristics such as strawberries with flavors from our grandparent’s time, but with 100X the antioxidants of what you can find on the market. We are not talking about GMOs, but rather using environmental sensing and finely-tuned orchestrations of lighting and nutrients, to help a strawberry or any plant, grow in a way that is suitable to you.”

High-profile guests from Israel’s food industry will be there, as well as top thinkers in areas of Blockchain and cloud computing.  

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