• Bogdan Velisco
  • Simon Hedekær Holstener
4. term, Techno-Anthropology, Master (Master Programme)
In the coming 30 years, the world population is expected to reach well over 9 billion people that will lead to an estimated 50 percent growth in overall food demand. Meanwhile, the global agricultural systems are reaching their limits in terms of production capacity, and the possibilities for expanding current agricultural practices are scarce due to limited resources such as arable land and freshwater reserves. Despite significant advances in the past century in terms of production, today, global agriculture is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emission and intensive agricultural practices have taken its toll on the environment.

In the past decade, the concept of controlled environment agriculture has made significant advancements when it comes to growing food indoors and in vertical farms, using artificial lighting, automation, and climate control technologies. By fully controlling the growing environment, these types of production are able to achieve high yields year-round, using little water, little land, no pesticides, and no soil.

In this thesis, we explore the concept of controlled environment agriculture, its technological advancements, and the relations between farmers, engineers, and technology.
By accessing controlled environment agriculture through the lens of science and technology studies, we examine how different actors make up different realities in the form of networks. This is supplemented by a qualitative research approach and a theoretical framework that addresses how the integrations of new technologies affect the relations between farmers, engineers and reshapes the farming environment. We applied actor-network theory and the notion of heterogeneity along with the farmer-back-to-farmer approach as analytical tools to understand the field of research. And applied expert knowledge in the form of interviews and seminars in order to present a detailed description of the concept and its implications.

In this thesis, we have arrived at the conclusion that the relations between farmer, engineer, and the farming environment are heavily influenced by technology. Not only that, but technology itself can be a means to alter the different aspects of the field of CEA, especially in the transition from a semi- to a fully controlled environment. The expertise that these two groups of actors possess, especially in collaboration with one another, can be used to generate sustainable change.
Publication date3 Aug 2020
Number of pages48
ID: 337921819