Humans have spent the last 10,000 years mastering agriculture, but it just takes a dry spell, or a flash flood to wipe out a year's worth of crops.
Hoping to solve this problem is plant physiologist Shigeharu Shimamura, who has set up an industrial-scale farm inside a factory in Japan.
Closely controlled using specially-designed LED lamps, the farm opened earlier this month and is already said to be producing 10,000 heads of lettuce a day.
The farm is nearly half the size of a football field (25,000 square feet) and is built in a former Sony Corporation semiconductor factory in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture in Japan.
It farm uses 17,500 LED lights spread over 18 cultivation racks, reaching 16 levels high - and these lights are used to mimic day and night.
By monitoring the photosynthesis process carefully, the system grows lettuce two-and-a-half times faster than an outdoor farm.
It also cuts waste product by 40 per cent and productivity per square foot is up 100-fold. ...