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Mexican researchers create smart garden to reduce ecological footprint and ensure food consumption

Mexican researchers have created an urban garden that uses artificial intelligence to care for plants, reduce the ecological footprint, and ensure food consumption in large cities.

The garden, located in the Science Museum of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Universum) in Mexico City, is monitored by software that sends information about the requirements of each plant to the “cloud” to keep them in optimal conditions.

Mexican researchers create smart garden to reduce ecological footprint and ensure food consumption. (Photo internet reproduction)
Mexican researchers create smart garden to reduce ecological footprint and ensure food consumption. (Photo internet reproduction)

“With the help of multinational technology company Microsoft, the garden has been engineered with sensors embedded in the ground that alert us to the needs of each plant, and cameras have also been installed to monitor the growth of the vegetables,” said Claudia Hernández, deputy director of Universum.

Hernandez also explained that the video cameras check the coloration of the leaves, and if any irregularities are detected, a warning is sent to prevent the plant from dying.

“Each plant is tagged with a QR code that you can scan with your phone to get the related information and how to care for the plant,” he said.

An urban garden offers many benefits from an economic and environmental standpoint because you have control over the type of fertilizers used by individual growers, water use, and how the vegetables are cared for, the Mexican deputy director said.

“We have selected plants that we can also eat to ensure the consumption of foods such as chard, tomatoes, strawberries, oregano, mint, etc., that are suitable for the climate in Mexico City,” she says.

The project, which uses cutting-edge technologies, Hernández says, helps make the right choices for proper garden development and reduces the impact of Mexico’s environmental footprint.

In addition, these types of urban plantations could feed vulnerable communities that lack access to certain foods or staples due to inflation.

“When food becomes scarce, and prices rise, the best thing we can do is return to self-sufficiency, teach people how to grow their food, and at the same time use technology to our advantage,” she said.

For this reason, the deputy director recommended indoor community gardens where people can hang pots and grow basil, oregano, etc. while fighting rural poverty.

“By growing, we are physically active, we get food, we help the environment, we have a better quality of life, and we consume more nutritious food because we have it at home,” Hernández said.

Another advantage of the garden is that the food does not have to be transported from far away, and its cost does not increase or polluting fuels to reach its destination.

“Today, we live in complex times, so it is advisable to return to organic food to preserve the planet while contributing to more efficient food production,” added the Universum deputy director.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) promotes this type of urban cultivation, pointing out its many benefits, such as the fact that a square meter of urban garden can produce up to 20 kilograms of vegetables per year, 15 times more than what is usually harvested in rural farms.

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