The need to increase the supply of food for larger and increasingly urbanised populations has created what many see as an entirely new sector based around reducing the distance salad crops travel. This usually involves growing delicate crops in enclosed spaces where the environment is controlled to give what is thought of as ideal growing conditions. In reality, since plants have evolved over many millennia, the process of growing a plant needs many of the variations nature delivers. We are only just beginning to learn what this means for the human diet. It is now apparent growing conditions cannot be changed substantially without changing some known and unknown qualities. This chapter looks first at what is being offered by those investing in Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) and then how, if done properly, the use of Intelligent Systems can unlock much greater benefits and then go further by informing some aspects of traditional agriculture. CEA needs to look further at why plants evolved as they did and use Intelligent Systems to build that knowledge and make effective use of it. Some aspects of traditional agriculture are using technology to deliver far greater granularity of data than those who grow in environments more usually found in a laboratory. The overwhelming majority of CEA practioners talk of data but then do little more than record environmental setpoints and rely on measuring Electrical Conductivity (EC) as a proxy for assessing nutrient levels. This chapter shows how the current array of low cost sensing options offer enormous improvement for growers and researchers. Introducing truly intelligent use of contemporary technology can create valuable outcomes to improve many areas of agriculture.
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