All images courtesy of Tom Hegen, via direct submission

In his latest aerial series, German photographer Tom Hegen takes to the skies above the Netherlands and contemplates how we’re going to feed the world when it reaches 10 billion people in 2050.

That’s an estimate from the United Nations – a population increase so enormous that, as natural resources like farmland and water become scarce, feeding the world will be an even greater challenge.

Researchers in the Netherlands are experimenting with one way to feed more people with using less land, by growing crops indoors. At inside temperatures above 20 degrees, constant humidity of around 80 per cent and the use of LED lighting to permit precisely cultivation, to produce year-round.

“The indoor gardens provide growing conditions for plants like tomatoes, peppers or strawberries around the clock and in every kind of weather, which doubles the average yield of an outdoor farm,” says Hegen. “The Netherlands is the globe’s number two exporter of food as measured by value, second only to the United States, which has 270 times its landmass.”

The Dutch have created the most advanced area in the world for controlled environment agriculture and have become world leaders in agricultural innovation (watch the video below to see how much that’s the case).

However, there are also consequences, like light pollution or growing crops out of season to ship them around the world, so that people can eat strawberries year-round. “Ordinances have been developed in which up to 98% of the electric lighting must be contained within a greenhouse facility by using blackout screens and curtains along the sides and roofs,” adds Hegen.

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