TED Community » Hala Chaoui

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Canada, Toronto
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An idea worth spreading

Innovative technologies for organic farming


  • TEDCred score: +2.80 TEDCred reflects your contribution to the TED community.

  • A comment on Talk: Shubhendu Sharma: How to grow a tiny forest anywhere

    Jan 24 2015: This is so amazing. Agri-industries could follow your example. Consultants currently visit farmers repeatedly, trying to sell them products that might help increase their yield. They also leave the option of soil testing to the farmer, who don't always opt for it. Most importantly the first, most necessary step is at times ignored: starting with a layer of organic matter.

    Real time data, sent remotely, is the best basis for deciding what to add tot he soil and plants! It's so refreshing that this idea comes from the car industry :)

    Along the same line, here is a method of creating a DIY suspended indoor garden anywhere, from recycled or new material. It's the alternative to expensive green walls, and it cleans indoor air (filtered by plants) and produces some of the vegetables a family consumes: http://www.urbanfarmsorganic.com/plantpods.html
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    A comment on Talk: Alison Gopnik: What do babies think?

    Aug 25 2014: As a new mom I am thrilled to have listened to this talk. My instinct tells me the more I go with the flow, and don't stiffle my toddler with too many rules, the more he and I will enjoy his childhood. Learning about a baby's "lantern of consciousness" makes me see why laid back parenting can be rewarding; babies are butterflies, not catterpillars!
  • A reply on Talk: Simon Anholt: Which country does the most good for the world?

    Jul 16 2014: First, like many in the west you have a distorted, prejudiced view of Lebanon. Lebanon has a higher education rate and schools per capita than the US or canada. It also started resisting western manipulations into divide and conquer wars ("civil war") in 1989, after massive peaceful marches where we expressed national sentiment. This was the Lebanese spring, completely blacked out by western media. I was there when reporters switched off their cameras as we did something constructive. The citizenry movement grew since, and is now the second block in our parliament. I did migrate, and it confirmed to me that Lebanon has potential that no other country has.
  • A comment on Talk: Simon Anholt: Which country does the most good for the world?

    Jul 11 2014: Please oh please advise Lebanon! We're not as the stereotype says, we have a citizenry movement (and party) seeking equal rights. As a result of newfound national sentiment we don't fall for civil war schemes anymore. Still there is a gap between our goals and achievements, and looking inwards might be the reason!
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    A comment on Talk: Melinda Gates: Let's put birth control back on the agenda

    May 20 2012: This is brilliant, because it gives an overview of the history of birth control. It's particularly not ethnocentric since it shows how regardless of ethnicity all women have the same ambition, to parent well, which means parenting fewer children.

    Melinda Gates has a lot of soul, I have a new-found respect for her and her husband's social work.
  • A comment on Talk: José Bowen: Beethoven the businessman

    May 16 2012: nice! Especially the point about schools. Khan academy is already turning basic education into a freeware, and here's there TED talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/salman_khan_let_s_use_video_to_reinvent_education.html
  • A comment on Talk: Amory Lovins: A 40-year plan for energy

    May 3 2012: Great talk, I wish I was working at your institute! I think part of efficient energy use is turning organic waste to an odourless organic fertilizer, to new food, and all on site. By on site I mean in or near the kitchen where it was generated, inside a condo, an apartment, house or institution. The technology to make it effortless (and side-effect-free) to turn waste to fertilizer is emerging (urbanfarmsorganic.com). The micro edible gardens that benefit from this fertilizer would be inside the apartment, on its walls, suspended from its ceiling, or on a balcony or rooftop for seasonal gardens. Here's a review of innovative technologies that could make urban / organic farming a convenient choice in the future: page 21 of http://innovative-science.com/our-science-magazine . If cities recycled some fo their waste to green space and edible plants, on site, they would spend less energy on exporting and processing waste, and on importing food. They would also have a softer, greener urban landscape which improves life standard in the city. This on site process of waste into new food also means people will eat well regardless of their income level. I wonder if urban agriculture will become another focus of RMI, along with electricity, transportation, building and industry.
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    A reply on Talk: Jonathan Foley: The other inconvenient truth

    Apr 11 2012: In a study by Mader et al, published in Science in 2001, it was demonstrated that organic agriculture is more resource-efficient than conventional agriculture: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/296/5573/1694.abstract
    Organic matter retains water for a longer time, which makes farms consume less water and be drought resilient. Synthetic fertilizer on the other hand kill soil microbes by osmotic drought. These microbes, in a soil high in organic matter, exude carbs (sticky solution) that binds soil aggregates together. This means more soil structure, more pores in the soil, more places to store air in the soil, and more oxygen for the plants. Aerated roots produce higher yields, this is why adding organic matter to the soil a conventional farm boosts plant yield, it's not just the nutrient effect. More details are found in Mader's paper.
    Also there are many misconceptions about organic meaning "rustic". I moderated a technical session for 3 years at the American Society for Agricultural and Biological Engineers, on innovative technologies for organic farming. I then presented a review of such technologies at conferences, and in this pop sci article: Page 21 at http://innovative-science.com/our-science-magazine
    Technology like weeding robots, software for modeling nutrient mineralization from organic fertilizer, and other advances are expected to make organic farming a low-labor, high-return type of business, not to mention that it will afford you a conscience as well.
  • A comment on Talk: Mark Raymond: Victims of the city

    Mar 23 2012: Thank you Mark, the solutions you mention really echo with someone fron Beirut like myself. I think what escapes westerners is that in most of the world, we as people didn't have enough control over how our cities sprawled in the past, and we need to remedy that now.
  • A comment on Talk: T. Boone Pickens: Let's transform energy -- with natural gas

    Mar 22 2012: The "ennemy", the Saudi regime, and you, the US have worked together to prop banana republics in the middle east and colonize it. The divide is not between OPEC and the US, but between aggressive colonizers; Saudi regimes, their US allies, and Europeans, vs. .natives of the "ex-colonies", everywhere. We the ex-colonies want to reach our potential, and you and your "ennemy" need to move out of our way, and stop supporting corrupt regimes so you can better exploit us. Moubarak, Ben Ali, Hariri's suit indicted for embezzlement in Lebanon... You supported these until the last possible minute. By all means, end the age of oil from the so-called ennemy (which you're allied with!!), so we can be free of your colonial policies and we can have our own technological renaissance.
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