How robots and indoor farming can help save water and grow crops year round

Agriculture may feed the world, but it is also contributing to global warming. Agriculture production uses about 70% of the Earth’s fresh water and makes up about a third of greenhouse gas emissions. But it doesn’t have to. Farming is moving inside, and farmers aren’t exactly what they used to be. New forms of farming, new technology and new companies are greening the greenery.

Take for example Grover and Phil. They are autonomous robots — or farmers of the future, working at Iron Ox, a 6-year-old, Silicon Valley-based farm tech start-up. It grows produce in natural light greenhouses, with the goal of decentralizing farming in order to grow crops closer to consumers in a more sustainable way.

“We have different robots that are tending to the plants, they’re checking on it, they’re scanning for issues, and they’re adjusting the amount of nutrients it gets, the amount of water it gets,” explained Brandon Alexander, CEO of Iron Ox.