Thursday, November 8, 2007

Interesting Concept: Vertical Farming

I Stumbled Upon something new recently: vertical farming. The idea is that multi-level hydroponic farming -- in skyscrapers, even -- could be accomplished in the middle of cities and elsewhere to bring food closer to those who need it. The story has been covered recently in Popular Mechanics and on CNN Money:
The term "urban farming" may conjure up a community garden where locals grow a few heads of lettuce. But some academics envision something quite different for the increasingly hungry world of the 21st century: a vertical farm that will do for agriculture what the skyscraper did for office space.

Build a 21-story circular greenhouse, says Dickson Despommier, an environmental science professor at Columbia University, and it can be as productive as 588 acres of land - growing, say, 12 million heads of lettuce a year.

With the world's population expected to increase by 3 billion by 2050 - nearly all of it in cities - and with 80 percent of available farmland already in use, Despommier sees a burgeoning need for such buildings. So he talked to fellow academics at the University of California at Davis about using rooftop solar panels to power 24-hour grow lights and found NASA-like technology that would capture evaporating water for irrigation.

Follow the links above to read more. Interesting stuff!

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