Vertical Farms

May 24, 2007 at 3:40 pm (neat things) ()

Yesterday, May 23rd, marked the (approximate) day when urban populations would outnumber rural ones. It’s expected that by 2050, about 80% of the world’s population will live in urban areas and the human population will increase by about 3 billion. These developments have major implications for our food system- implications that the Vertical Farms Project hopes to make positive.

An estimated 109 hectares of new land (about 20% more land than is represented by the country of Brazil) will be needed to grow enough food to feed them, if traditional farming practices continue as they are practiced today. At present, throughout the world, over 80% of the land that is suitable for raising crops is in use (sources: FAO and NASA). Historically, some 15% of that has been laid waste by poor management practices.

So here’s the Vertical Farms Project’s proposed solution:

The concept of indoor farming is not new, since hothouse production of tomatoes, a wide variety of herbs, and other produce has been in vogue for some time. What is new is the urgent need to scale up this technology to accommodate another 3 billion people. An entirely new approach to indoor farming must be invented, employing cutting edge technologies. The Vertical Farm must be efficient (cheap to construct and safe to operate). Vertical farms, many stories high, will be situated in the heart of the world’s urban centers. If successfully implemented, they offer the promise of urban renewal, sustainable production of a safe and varied food supply (year-round crop production), and the eventual repair of ecosystems that have been sacrificed for horizontal farming.

The method would be less energy intensive, more efficient, and more sustainable. Food would be grown organically without the use of pesticides or herbicides. Sounds good, right?

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