Zordi’s blend of cutting-edge robotics, artificial intelligence, and traditional farming knowledge has positioned them as a leader in sustainable agriculture. This innovative approach, led by founder Gilwoo Lee and co-founder Casey Call, represents a concerted effort to combat climate change’s detrimental effects on farming and food production. Through their unique approach and the integration of advanced technology, Zordi seeks to revolutionize the agriculture industry.
When faced with the catastrophic wildfires in 2020, Lee was reminded of the urgent need to address climate change. The experience solidified her commitment to leveraging robotics and AI to create a meaningful impact in the fight against environmental deterioration. Meanwhile, Call’s lifetime of experience in farming within his family’s expansive 12,000-acre farmland in western New York provided him with firsthand insight into the necessity of improving agricultural efficiency. It was this drive to align agriculture with sustainable practices that served as a catalyst for Zordi’s inception.
As Zordi moves forward under the backing of Khosla Ventures, their focus is on producing greenhouse-grown strawberries in the Northeast. This unique venture combines the use of robots, AI, and machine learning to not only plant and harvest the delicate berries but to also monitor and control the environmental conditions within the greenhouses. The combination of robotics and AI will help them deliver high-quality strawberries to markets while paving the way for expansion into other crops. Their vision aligns closely with the mission of providing sustainably grown local produce to feed the world.
While the application of AI and machine learning in sustainable agriculture may not be immediately apparent, the increased need to manage a wide array of information such as microclimates and soil conditions makes it a natural fit for the industry. The breadth and volume of this data point to the untapped potential for AI in agriculture, from monitoring weather and soil conditions to standardizing the vast amounts of information gathered by farmers. Such resources offer the promise of both improving crop yields and advancing sustainability measures to address today’s challenges, such as inflation, climate change, and labor costs.
The infusion of advanced technologies into agriculture traces its roots back to the 1960s with the emergence of computer technology. However, precision farming, which arose in the late ’80s and early ’90s, emphasized optimizing crops at a field level through the utilization of GPS and field monitoring systems. A more recent development is the integration of AI and machine learning into this ecosystem, enabling predictive analytics for crop yields, disease detection, and planting and harvesting times. This ongoing technological evolution has propelled Zordi toward the forefront of the agriculture industry.
Despite agriculture’s contribution to the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, it remains a key priority for refining its sustainability efforts. In light of this, AI and machine learning are poised to assist in shaping the sector’s future with climate-friendly practices. The increasing global population, projected to surpass 9 billion by 2050, presents an immediate urgency to innovate sustainable approaches while meeting heightened demands for food production. Microsoft’s Project FarmBeats, led by Ranveer Chandra, stands as a notable example of AI empowering farmers to make data-driven decisions and, in turn, enhance their sustainable food production capabilities.
As Zordi and similar ventures look ahead, AI and machine learning promise to deliver industry-wide transformation, offering innovative solutions that improve crop yield, reduce the environmental impact, and secure the sustainability of future food supplies. With the pivotal role these technologies play in informing critical decisions about when and how to apply crucial resources such as water and pesticides at a plant level, the agriculture industry is on the brink of a technological renaissance. Zordi stands as a prime example of this transformative potential in sustainable agriculture, bridging the realms of cutting-edge technology and traditional farming practices to address one of the world’s most pressing challenges: climate change.