The Markets Institute
Each year the Markets Institute identifies the top 15 issues, trends, and tools emerging in the coming year for the food and soft commodities sector. Check out what’s been identified each year.
What We're Incubating
California produces more than 1/3 of the vegetables and 2/3 of fruits and nuts that are grown in the United States. But California’s warming climate makes farming there less certain in the future, as it will likely suffer the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events in the future. Every country has a California in its food system—a place we rely on to feed millions of people—and none of them are anticipating the impacts of climate change. We need to explore “The Next Californias” around the world, looking at the viability of shifting some fruit and vegetable production to new to ensure a more climate-resilient food system in the coming decades.
Our first Innovation Analysis on this topic investigated the potential in the mid-Mississippi Delta River region to take on more specialty crop and value added production, equity, and finance models when a system is built from scratch.
One path toward a more resilient, accessible food system is more distributed capacity, a system in which some nutritious food is produced at scale closer to consumers, with more efficient use of inputs, less waste, and fewer GHG emissions. We are exploring if/when indoor, soilless agriculture can help us get there. Also called controlled environment agriculture (CEA), this growing industry has generated excitement for its potential to decrease conventional agriculture’s pressures on land, biodiversity, natural habitat, and climate. There’s also potential to produce food in or closer to food deserts, use stranded urban assets and infrastructure, and create employment opportunities. However, it faces hurdles in getting to scale.
Our Innovation Analysis examined the various systems and tech that fall under CEA, such as hydroponics, aquaponics, and aeroponics, to get a clear picture of the social, environmental, and economic opportunities, challenges, and possible paths ahead for both people and planet.
Around the world, climate change and overfishing are challenging the livelihoods of fishers. Many women in fishing households have turned to seaweed farming to supplement family income. However, the markets and value chains of seaweed are not transparent—resulting in lower prices and less bargaining power for women. What if we can disrupt the market forces that marginalize women seaweed producers by piloting new farming approaches. restructuring business models and seeking alternative markets—including markets for carbon capture and/or sequestration and nitrogen and phosphorus capture—to protect and empower coastal communities? Through increased scale, offshore seaweed farming has the potential to expand carbon sequestration, fight climate change, increase food production, and improve livelihoods for these communities.
- Why Fewer Product Choices Might be a Good Thing
- The Next California: Introduction
- Investing in US Schools by Reducing Food Waste
- What is the Price of Self-Sufficiency?
- Indoor Soilless Agriculture Could Supplement US Food Supply While Decreasing Environmental Impact of Food Production
- Mid-Mississippi Delta River Region Potentially a “Next California” of Fruit and Vegetable Production
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