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Entries in farming (15)

Sunday
Mar202011

Push Button Farm of the Year 2000 (1958)

This 1958 cartoon appeared in a magazine for college students studying agriculture at Kansas State. It depicts the farmer of the year 2000 tending ever so leisurely to his hyper-futuristic push-button farm. While it's clearly tongue-in-cheek, none of the technologies depicted are that far off from very sincere predictions of that time. Weather control, radioactive crops and lounge chair farming were all promises made to farmers of that distant year 2000.

Push button agriculture in the year 2,000 A.D. This is how the Kansas State College Ag Student, magazine for K-State students in agriculture, illustrated an article on the subject in the December issue, Gary Yeakley, writing half in fun and half seriously, foresees underground feed lots, copto-spraying use of selective hormones, and remote controlled jets and atomic-powered tractors.

 

From the January 1, 1958 Hutchinson News (Hutchinson, KS).

1958 Jan 1 Hutchinson News - Hutchinson KS article paleofuture

Wednesday
Jan192011

Space Farmer of the Year 2012 (1982)

The 1982 Kids' Whole Future Catalog is just bursting at the seams with amazing advancements from the world of yestermorrow. From space hotels and universal language translators to factories in space and schools in the sky, this catalog fed the imaginations of countless rugrats in the 1980s. Today we have an excerpt from the catalog that imagines an interview with a space farmer of the year 2012.

 

Interview with a Space Farmer

Island One, January 16, 2012

On a recent tour through the Colonies of the United Universe, we stopped at Island One and talked with a farmer there:

Q: At lunch today, the waiter told us that all the food on the menu was produced here on Island One. Do you import any food from Earth?

A: No, it's too expensive. We raise every bit of food for all 10,000 of our citizens right her on this farm.

Q: You must have a very large area under cultivation?

A: Not really. We can grow all the food necessary to support one person in an area just 6 1/2 ft. long and 6 1/2 ft. wide. The entire farm takes up just 100 acres.

Q: How can you raise so much food in such a small space? 

A: Well, for one thing, we raise most of our crops - hydroponically - in water instead of soil. That saves a lot of space because we can grow plants on tall vertical frames. Also, our farm produces food continuously - one crop after another, all year-round. It's always summer here, and we don't have any cloudy days or storms to contend with.

Q: Do you raise any animals? 

A: Yes, they help us recycle leftovers. We raise our cows and goats almost entirely on corn stalks, cucumber vines and other crop wastes. Our chickens eat table scraps. Rabbits are our main sources of meat. They take up less space than hogs or cows and they need only half as much feed to produce a pound of meat. We also raise fish in those ponds over there.

Q: Where do you get the. water for the fish ponds?  

A: All the water in the colony is used over and over again. Water for drinking and cooking comes from the farm's dehumidifiers, which pull moisture out of the air. Waste water is purified in a solar furnace and then piped back to the farm. 

Q: Have you had any crop failures? 

A: Not so far. When we started the farm, we inspected the shipments of plants and seeds from Earth very carefully to make sure they didn't contain any weeds or insects. Now our farm is pretty much pest-free. 

Q: Do you miss your farm back on Earth? 

A: Not a bit! I've even learned to like rabbitburgers! 


 

The following page has an assessment of what was on the Gemini and Skylab menus, comparing them to the swanky Island One menu of the future. You could even send away for a package of freeze dried ice cream for $1.20, postpaid of course.

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Sunday
Jan312010

Museum of Extinct Americana (1968)

The January 3, 1968 Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ) ran this cartoon depicting the "Museum of Extinct Americana." Rural Americans and private dwellings were thought to be on their way out.

While more Americans of the year 2000 were living in urban areas, American farmers haven't yet gone the way of the quagga. (This is probably a stupid city-boy question, but how common are pitchforks on farms today?)

The recent housing bubble burst put the hurt on a lot of Americans who own their own home, but this cartoon was likely commenting on population growth and the belief that the United States was at capacity; with Americans of the year 2000 living in increasingly cramped conditions.

I wish the cartoonist had included more artifacts in his museum. Do you suppose he could have guessed that the printed newspaper would be struggling as much as it has the past few years?

MARCH OF TECHNOLOGY -- Many miracles are just around the corner as today's basic research becomes tomorrow's gadgets. But many familiar facets of present-day life will vanish as the year 2000 approaches, as this cartoon illustrates.

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Monday
May112009

"Factory" Farms of the Future (1961)

Remember when the term "factory farm" was synonymous with a positive way to produce food? Neither do I.

But this April 9, 1961 edition of Closer Than We Think (which appeared in the Chicago Tribune) treats the phrase as a part of humanity's natural progression in the advancement of science. I imagine what a different world we'd be living in if "FACTORY FARMED!" were plastered on food packaging rather than "ORGANIC!" or "ALL-NATURAL!" That world somehow seems just as plausible given a few historical and societal tweaks. Those giant tomatoes could have been pulled directly from John Elfreth Watkin's December, 1900 piece for the Ladies' Home Journal. And those monorail tank cars are certainly reminiscent of the high-speed freightways used to transport food in the 1958 Disneyland TV episode Magic Highway, U.S.A.

The full text of the strip appears below.

Agriculture in the world of tomorrow will be so mechanized that farms will actually resemble factories. Crops and livestock will be raised on regular schedules under uniform and carefully controlled conditions.

"Sensors," those automatic control devices for today's wonder machines, will be adapted to the requirements of precisions agriculture. They will take the place of human judgement in deciding and reacting to soil conditions, crop maturity, moisture levels, weather forecasting, feeding needs, etc. Bendix researcher W. E. Kock has reported that instruments to do this already exist or will soon be developed.

A special thanks to Tom Z. yet again for being an invaluable resource for the Closer Than We Think series.

Previously on Paleo-Future:

Monday
Apr072008

Little Work, Big Pay Forecast Year 2000 (1969)

The July 30, 1969 Progress-Index (Petersburg, VA) ran a piece titled, "Little Work, Big Pay Forecast Year 2000." Thirty hour work weeks, lawns that needn't be mowed, and automated kitchens are just a few of the innovations mentioned by Richard Gillis Jr., in a speech given to the Petersburg Kiwanis Club in 1969.

An America with automated farming and homemaking, large incomes and short work week, most people living in urban areas and the majority of them young, was forecast by the executive director of Commerce, Richard Gillis Jr., in speaking to the Petersburg Kiwanis Club Tuesday. The entire article appears below.

 

The address of Gillis at the Holiday Inn was on "The Year 2000."

Gillis called control the key word in urging Kiwanians to work for an educational system that will enlarge man's understanding, control and enjoyment of life."

Looking ahead to prepare ourselves and our children, Gillis said. "Let us gather up as much as we can of this great civilized heritage which began here in Virginia while we still have it and transmit it on to our children. They will be grateful for this and it will give them the opportunity to enjoy the next fabulous 31 years, and we will know we have done something of worth."

During the next two decades, Gillis said, "young people will make up the greatest part of the U.S. population growth. Indeed, ours is a young population, with the trend moving strongly in the direction of a national population in which half of our people will be under 26 years of age in just a few years."

During the rapid growth in the population in which time "two per cent will be able to produce all the food needed by this country. . . the migration of people from rural areas to cities, from undeveloped societies to industrial ones, from poverty pockets to more affluent areas, will continue to take place at a fast rate.

"A distinguishing feature of rural America in the year 2000 . . . will be towers containing television scanners to keep an eye on robot tractors. The owner of the farm of the future will no more be out riding a tractor than the president of General Motors is out today on the assembly line, tightening bolts," said Gillis.

For the women in the homes, Gillis said, "All she will have to do to order a meal will simply be to punch a few instructions out and food will be transferred from the storage compartment to the oven at the proper intervals and cooked." He added, "Food preparation will be completely automated. By the year 2000, we will have eliminated the pot and pan."

Gillis said he wishes very much to live through the next 31 years. "I am anxious to see the time come when grass will only grow to a certain height and stay green continually, and the sound of the lawn mower will no longer be heard in the land."

Incomes will be increased greatly said Gillis. And with the increase, people "will have devoted adequate portions of their incomes to overcome successfully water and air pollution, congested roads and airways, and many disease, both physical and social.

"The work week and the work day will be drastically reduced," said Gillis. "The majority of the people will be working less than 30 hours a week." He didn't predict just how the populace will adjust to the increased free time.


See also:
1999 A.D. (1967)
Women and the Year 2000 (1967)
Farmer Jones and the Year 2000 (1956)

 

Wednesday
Mar262008

Sea City of the Future (1984)

This image appears in the 1984 book The Future World of Agriculture and illustrates futuristic farming techniques near a sea city.

Robots tend crops that grow on floating platforms around a sea city of the future. Water from the ocean would evaporate, rise to the base of the platforms (leaving the salt behind), and feed the crops.


 

See also:
Sea City 2000 (1979)
Robot Farms (1982)
Farm of the Future (1984)
Superfarm of the Year 2020 (1979)

Thursday
Feb142008

Farmer Jones and the Year 2000 (1956)


The Independent Press-Telegram magazine, Southland (Long Beach, CA) dedicated their entire November 4, 1956 issue to "You and the Year 2000." The section about farming appears below.

The most odd scenario depicted is one in which an H-bomb actually makes crops grow better. The entire article by George Serviss, entitled "Anyone for a Garchidrose?" appears below.

Farmer Jones stepped to a small black instrument panel at the rear of the air-conditioned plastic "bubble" in which we sat, my wife seated beside me - I had brought her along to write the woman's angle of this interview with a Year 2000 farm family for "Atomic Life." We had just come up a ray-powered elevator from the family's spacious bomb-and-fungus-proofed, solar-conditioned subsurface quarters. We were surveying his fields.

 

Farmer Jones pressed a button marked "Activator." There was a slight hum and a cylinder rose in the field a few feet beyond the clear plastic wall. A door opened in the cylinder and a robot, closely resembling a 1956 man, stepped jerkily out into the field.

"I must apologize for my hired hand," Farmer Jones said lightly, "Since full parity prices have been removed from our crops, I haven't been able to afford a newer model. But, he has served me well. A couple of new tubes and a paint job will tide him over for another year or two."

Farmer Jones was now operating a small lever that projected from a squarish box that stood up from the floor. The lever seemed to swing around a 360-degree circle and, as I watched, I could see that this was the control for the robot. I turned back to the field to watch development. I'd already asked about the quality of his crops.

The robot moved swiftly now, under Farmer Jones' guidance. "Carrot, perhaps?" queried Farmer Jones. "Or a turnip; perhaps a tomato?" he asked, turning the robot this way and that in the rows that could be seen beyond the plastic. There was very little foliage to mark the rows, produce being grown these days for the edible roots and fruits with a minimum of green waste. Chlorophyll derivative sprays replaced greenery, as I had already observed in my extensive farm and garden writings.

Perhaps we should have a leaf or two of spinach, too," Farmer Jones commented, steering the robot on another course to a green section of the field into which the machine almost totally disappeared, so tall was the vegetation.

"I'll bring the man in now," Farmer Jones said, and guided the robot to a belt conveyor box which projected beyond the bubble. "Haven't been out in the fields since we were H-bombed in the last war," he said. He laughed ruefully, "Don't think it would be healthy," he said, "still 'hot'; but you'd be surprised what that bombing did for the soil. Things grow like crazy; and the robot doesn't mind a bit sowing the seeds and keeping the place up."

The impromptu harvest came tumbling into the bubble - through a radiation trap. Farmer Jones explained. "They're safe to handle now," he said, and pressed a "Deactivator" button that left the robot hired-hand standing at attention. The humming stopped.

The vegetable were all that Farmer Jones had previously boasted that they would be. Carrots three feet long. I took a sample nibble of one; cleaned and completely sanitized by passing through the radiation trap. It was delicious. So was the turnip, four feet in diameter and as tender as butter. I carved a chunk with my electronic pocket incisor and passed it to my wife who has always had a penchant for raw vegetables. She exclaimed with delight at its flavor.

The giant tomato, fully as large as a regulation basketball, gushed red juice of tantalizing aroma when I pricked the skin with my incisor.

The spinach leaves were far larger than palm fronds, but I have persisted in a childhood aversion for this delicacy. I merely examined the leaves for texture.

"No sand," commented Farmer Jones," and the flavor is very similar to lemon squash. All the old-time vitamins, though."

We chatted on crop prospects and the market outlook while Farmer Jones sent his man after a handful of cherries, which were chilled by dry ice in the hands of the robot before they reached us. One apiece was more than enough Farmer Jones asked:

"Would your wife like to have a nice, fresh corsage? I've something new I've just perfected."

He dispatched the robot on another guided errand. The corsage that was deposited on the conveyor belt was, indeed, "something new."

"I call it 'garchidrose'," Farmer Jones said. "I've combined gardenia, orchid and rose in one, together with fern, to grow a complete, multiple-flower corsage on one plant. It does need a bit of ribbon," he apologized, "but I haven't found the way to grow the ribbon yet!" My wife was delighted.

We turned to leave.

"By the way," I said. "These vegetables of yours; they must be very high in vitamin content."

"They are, they are," he said. "Extremely so."

"They you must be a very healthy man," I said.

"Me? Oh no; I never eat them. No roughage for me. I have ulcers. I'm strictly a cottage cheese and pill man, myself."

See also:
Closer Than We Think! Fat Plants and Meat Beets (1958)
Farm to Market (1958)
Robot Farms (1982)
Farm of the Future (1984)
Superfarm of the Year 2020 (1979)
That Synthetic Food of the Future (Ogden Standard-Examiner, 1926)