By Naty Barak- Netafim Chief Sustainability Officer
In San Diego, California recently a group of educators, business people, politicians and philanthropic leaders came together to discuss ‘Global Challenges to Economic Growth Through Innovation’ with the student body at the Rady School at UCSD.
The California-Israel Center on Innovation and Economic Sustainability brings people together to learn from one another. Business, civic, and academic communities in global innovation and business development come together, continually broadening understanding of the forces that shape innovation economies. The aim is to generate new businesses, launch entrepreneurial relationships, connect communities, and apply academic rigor to solve the toughest real problems in industry.
The discussion explored how two major global innovation hubs, California and Israel, are expanding cooperation and building on their respective strengths as the “start up” and “scale-up” locations to develop and deploy future-forward solutions to benefit nations throughout the world.
Topics in a broad panel discussion ranged from scaling up water management technologies to achieve Israeli levels of performance in water supply and distribution in the context of the water crises in California and abroad, to reducing the world’s dependence on crude oil through alternative energy and related clean technologies.
I was honored to participate, alongside eminent professors and business leaders from across the two regions, and to share my insights in the area of agricultural technology, energy saving, water efficiency and sustainable farming. It was along these lines that I suggested several possible options for collaboration, promoting mass adoption of drip in commodity crops in general and alfalfa in particular.
Agriculture is largest user of water resources in California. Drip has been tremendously adopted in California in high value crops (almonds, nuts, wine grapes), but it hasn’t been adopted in commodity crops (alfalfa, corn), which are the largest consumers of water. With the water drought in CA, alfalfa is a key driver of potential water savings, when using drip.