An evolution of farming and sustainable living for the future and now.
Vertical farming as a component of urban agriculture is the practice of producing food in vertically stacked layers, vertically inclined surfaces and/or integrated in other structures.
See the following clip with an overview of vertical farming from Dickson Despommier and a number of designs by a number of ’future architects’.
By the year 2050, nearly 80% of the earth’s population will reside in urban centers. Applying the most conservative estimates to current demographic trends, the human population will increase by about 3 billion people during the interim. An estimated 109 hectares of new land 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: NASA and FAO). Historically, some 15% of that has been laid waste by poor management practices. What can be done to avoid this impending disaster?
A Potential Solution: Farm Vertically
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.
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 of year-round crop production, and the eventual repair of ecosystems that have been sacrificed for horizontal farming.
Advantages of Vertical Farming
- Year-round crop production; 1 indoor acre is equivalent to 4-6 outdoor acres or more, depending upon the crop
(e.g., strawberries: 1 indoor acre = 30 outdoor acres)
- No weather-related crop failures due to droughts, floods, pests
- All VF food is grown organically: no herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers
- VF adds energy back to the grid via methane generation from composting non-edible parts of plants and animals
- VF virtually eliminates agricultural runoff by recycling black water
- VF returns farmland to nature, restoring ecosystem functions and services
- VF greatly reduces the incidence of many infectious diseases that are acquired at the agricultural interface
- VF converts black and gray water into potable water by collecting the water of evapotranspiration
- VF dramatically reduces fossil fuel use (no tractors, plows, shipping.)
- VF converts abandoned urban properties into food production centers
- VF creates sustainable environments for urban centers
- VF creates new employment opportunities. We cannot go to the moon, Mars, or beyond without first learning to farm indoors on earth
- VF may prove to be useful for integrating into refugee camps
- VF offers the promise of measurable economic improvement for tropical and subtropical LDCs. If this should prove to be the case, then VF may be a catalyst in helping to reduce or even reverse the population growth of LDCs as they adopt urban agriculture as a strategy for sustainable food production.
- VF could reduce the incidence of armed conflict over natural resources, such as water and land for agriculture
Check out more here http://www.verticalfarm.com