Vertical Farming – Can It Work?
By the year 2050 this planet will have 9.5 million people and need additional farming space equivalent to the size of Brazil to feed them.
Agriculture uses 70 percent of the worlds freshwater and is not reusable for drinking since it leaves it polluted with fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides.
Farming consumes huge amounts of fossil fuels. 20 percent of the gasoline and diesel consumed here in the states. It also effects green house gas emissions.
Fossil fuel costs drive up the cost of fuel.
To accommodate the growing population huge deforestation will take place creating more environmental and greenhouse issues.
Growing crops in environmental friendly city skyscrapers would use less water and fossil fuel than outdoor farming, eliminate agricultural runoff and provide fresh food for many many people!
What is Vertical Farming?
The concept of indoor farming is not new. 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 approach seems like the most logical answer. Vertical farms, many stories high, can be be situated in urban areas and can use vacant, not highly sought after land.
If successfully implemented, these farms 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.
These farms would use the following three technologies to grow food:
This is a system where plants are suspended and their roots are free and fed by water vapor and nutrients.
This is a system where the plant roots are in a troft and fed by water and dissolved nutrients.
This is an irrigation system that saves water by injecting nutrient rich water at the root system.
Vertical Farming Can Be Self Sufficient
A high rise 30 story farm could employ many self sufficient features such as solar cells and incineration of inedible plant waste to produce electricity. Cleansing of city waste water to irrigate the plants.
Besides the fact that these farms would grow and produce crops year round, they would be completely unaffected by floods, droughts, insects and eliminate the dangerous runoff fertilizers and deforestation.
This country need to start experimenting with this technique to see if it is a viable system and a reliable food producing option.
Architects, Engineers, Eco-Engineers, Growers and Research Universities all need to get together to design a building that works.
We need to start thinking of our children’s world before it’s too late.
~ concord carpenter
Source: Scientific American , Nov 2009