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More people live in urban than in rural areas. It is expected that the current world population of 7 billion will grow to 9 billion by 2050, of which 6.5 billion will be living in urban areas. This means that in the next few decades the urban population will grow by 3 billion people. Most people living in urban areas are almost entirely dependent on food systems for sustenance. Few, if any, urban dwellers grow enough of their own produce to be self-sufficient and, as a result, centralized food systems have replaced the old community-centered model of food production and food distribution. This has created a fragile globalized system that brings into question food security across the planet.

Farming for the most part is generally associated with rural areas and is a stranger to most who live in urban areas. When you think of farms, you think of the country, not the city. This is rooted in the historical process of urbanization, which led to certain issues being defined as essentially urban and other issues as essentially rural. Food and agriculture are generally considered to be typical rural issues. We find it a fair assessment to say that there is a serious disconnect between people, agriculture and the food demands in urban areas.

Being frank, urban residents especially in most Western countries, do not even realize that they take food for granted. Most do not stop and think how their food gets to them in the city, or that millions of meals must be produced, imported, sold, cooked, eaten and disposed of, and that this process must happen every single day for every single city on earth.

Our current food system continues to have many implications on our globalized society, but, perhaps the most significant, is the fact that the production and distribution of food have become so far removed from the consumer that most people have almost no idea 6 where their food comes from, how their food is grown, how it is transported or who the farmer is that is growing their food. This, paired with a distribution system riddled with negative externalities that consistently go unaccounted for along the supply chain, has resulted in many fears around how we are going to feed 9 billion people by the year 2050 of which more than 70 percent of people will be living in urban areas*.

It also brings into question the nutritional content of the food we are currently consuming as it is becoming increasingly clear that since the industrial revolution every generation has had to deal with the declining nutritional content of their food. Millennial’s have less access to nutritionally dense produce than boomers and that trend seems to be continuing exponentially. If nothing changes, our children will be worse off in terms of the nutritional value of their food than we are—in a world where technology is arguably driving evolution—it is important that we remember that the fundamental aspect our existence is sustenance. Food has been the underlying driver of radical changes in the human story since the very beginning and it is now, in 2018, that the entire food system—at every level—is ripe for change. Our Roots believes that the next agricultural revolution will be a digital revolution where agriculture will become information driven and the Internet of Things (IoT)* will help bring radical changes to the current food system.

Our ultimate target is the trillion-dollar U.S. food and agriculture industry (roughly 6% of the GDP). American farm outputs alone total roughly 1% of the GDP, or over $130 billion. Corn, wheat and soybeans routinely top the rankings of U.S. production numbers, and California - which produces over 80% of the world’s almonds, and some $6 billion worth of grapes annually - is the largest agricultural state in the country. (Globally, food and agribusiness comprise a $5 trillion industry.)

We are spearheading our efforts of product maturation in the urban farming industry, where blockchain-enabled transparency, and the UPAG IoT platform, is most needed. Through the use of the turn-key UPAG platform, every business-to-business (B2B) urban farming professional will benefit from the IoT and blockchain capabilities with minimal additional expense, special 7 expertise or major disruption to their day to day operations. UPAG brings a fresh, new, approach to an exciting industry where relationships take years to develop and the extent of control is limited. As the UPAG solution fully matures in the urban farming market, we will gradually tackle adjacent crop sectors (e.g. indoor, cannabis farming), and then move on to larger sectors, to expand market penetration throughout the entire agriculture ecosystem.

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