Vertical Farming - is it the way of the future?

Vertical Farming - "Living Tower" by SOA Architects The idea of Vertical Farming is very thought provoking.

Skyscraper greenhouses that are able to feed whole cities or communities?

“If we keep doing what we’re doing, we’re going to keep getting what we’re getting.” – Stephen R. Covey.

The basic Theory is to grow fruits and vegetables in urban locations by growing up and not out (as we do with current farming practices, growing across land/orchards/fields…..).

What is suggested is that growing take place in Skyscrapers and tall buildings, designed by forward thinking architects to capture all of the elements needed for growing.

The Vertical Farms or Skyscraper gardens would be designed to be as self sustaining as possible (meaning they would be “off the grid” – using little to no utilities – no bills).

Each floor would provide the perfect conditions needed to grow a certain crop. Next Floor…… cucumbers : ).

Why are other Technologies for supplying Produce locally so important?

Dr. Dickson Despommier, of the Environmental Health Science Department of Columbia University and www.verticalfarm.comoffers the following facts on the growth of the world’s population, and the land available to grow sustaining crops needed:

  • By 2050, nearly 80% of the earth’s population will reside in urban centers
  • The World population is to increase by 3 billion people by 2050,
  • 20% more land mass than the country of Brazil is estimated to be needed to feed the World’s population – if the current ways of agriculture continue.
  • Currently 80% of land that can be used to grow the world’s crops is already being used.
  • Out of the land that can currently be used. 15% of that land has been poorly managed and is no longer usfull for growing the world’s needed crops.

That basically lays out the importance of finding alternative solutions to assure that we do not hit a point of world hunger. With the facts we now know from Dr. Despommier – it is even more crucial to provide our own supply of fresh fruits and vegetables.

A 30-story vertical garden tower proposed to feed 50,000 people (the population of my closest major city, Vancouver, British Columbia is 587,891 – you would need roughly 11 of these Vertical Farms, located throughout the city, to feed the whole city).

If we only use these vertical gardens to supplement our need, it would lessen the demand and improve the supply.

Urban Gardening and Greenhouse Gardening:

Urban Gardeningand Greenhouse Gardening practices are a great way to supply ourselves with as much produce as we can, for ourselves.

However, growing for ourselves teamed with this sort of technology would be great for all. And if we all grew as much as we could for ourselves, it would lessen the strain on demand for the vertical gardens.

Vertical Gardening would provide the same benefits as greenhouse gardening.

Supplying all produce Locally – is it Possible?:

Take a look at this video of the Living With the Land Greenhouses at Disney’s Epcot Center, Orlando Florida. This is an indoor greenhouse:

Grocery Stores, and Markets:

Currently most of us buy our produce from Grocery stores or local markets. The fact is that the majority of this produce is imported from other countries and areas of the world, each area offering a better climate for the certain crops they supply.

This means that we do not sustain our own local communities with their own food….. Unpredictable circumstances that are out of our hands also threaten a continuous supply (Environmental conditions, shipping/logistic issues and supply). Furthermore, it takes a huge toll on our environment with the need to ship long distances. Vertical Farming may be one of the solutions.

Concerns with Vertical Gardening:

There is also a lot of negativity surrounding this concept. People often point out the reasons why this it would not work. But why not, keep trying to make the growing model perfect?

Maybe there are a few things that would have to be worked out but…. Back to the quote – “If we keep doing what we’re doing, we’re going to keep getting what we’re getting.” With so many problems that need a solution, more ideas like this need to be provoked.

On the other hand the naysayers also need to be listened to. The faults that they bring up may have a lot of relevance and should be listened to, to make these ideas happen.

You may also be interested in these articles:

TheVertical Farming Theory

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