Simon Leufstedt

Vertical farming - a solution to the food crisis or an unrealistic techno-fix?

Do you think vertical farming can help us increase food availability around the world? Or is it doomed from the start, as the author of this article claim?

 

"Building factory farms in urban skyscrapers is promoted as a way to fix our broken food system. Despite the good intentions of its advocates, it’s a fantasy, an unrealistic techno-fix that can only divert attention from the need for real change."

 

Or do you, like Dickson Despommier, see farms in urban skyscrapers as a solution to green deserts and potential future food crisis?

 

"Despommier thinks vertical farming will allow us to grow locally and safely without taking over more of the earth’s arable land."

 

vertical-farming.jpg

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I think vertical farming has a place in our overall food production schemes. With the likelihood of increasing water shortages, vertical crops can benefit from the "grey" water produced by humans inside the buildings supporting vertical gardens.

 

Vertical farming can also cut transportation costs by shortening the distance between crops and the peole who will eventually eat them.

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Vertical farming may have a place in urban areas for sure. But if you think about it, by vertical farming you are just creating extra shade. As there is only so much light you cannot realistically increase the growth area on a large scale. Indeed in cities this make work to some extent, but I don't forsee it making a serious impact in the food supply chain.

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I think that, like any artificial growing system, it is bound to be very input-intensive and that limits its feasibility as a broad scale solution, but I also think critics of the idea overlook the situations in which it could be successfully applied. So many people fall into the trap of looking for A solution, rather than MANY solutions, to environmental and social problems. Personally I believe the solutions to energy, water, and food supply issues will have to be piecemeal and locally specific, rather than a "silver bullet" technology that can be successfully applied across the country or around the world. Is vertical farming one of those pieces? I'm not sure - I think in cities dense enough to benefit from this approach rather than rooftop growing, reclaiming vacant lots, or other more traditional methods of urban agriculture, the value of land and cost of construction are likely to be prohibitive to any wide-scale implementation. But if nothing else, these ideas call attention to the very real problems with our current agricultural system and I think there's value in that even if not every idea is fruitfully implemented. 

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To me it's the future of farming, we have gone to the limits almost to how far we can spread, so now really all we can do is go up.. Organics is a great thing but it is too water intensive and space intensive, other systems like Aquaponics do need input but you can use the environment around you, and really see it as the ultimate solution for most of our food needs.

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"Building factory farms in urban skyscrapers..."

The promotion of factory farms is sick and causes a homogenized food perfect for corruption from micro-biological organisms.  It also reaps havoc on the enviornments not only where they exist, but also where the resourses necessary for their existance are "harvested" from.

 

That said, check out this permaculture design for maximizing vertical growth in fesible, independant ventures.

Hugelkultur_0.standard%20460x345.png

 

If you can't do the work, stop trying to convince others to stop their task of their dreams

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Vertical farming may have a place in urban areas for sure. But if you think about it, by vertical farming you are just creating extra shade. As there is only so much light you cannot realistically increase the growth area on a large scale. Indeed in cities this make work to some extent, but I don't forsee it making a serious impact in the food supply chain.

 I agree that lighting will be an issue, but I think that isa problem only if we rely on vertical farming, alone.

 

ONe of the big problems we have in problem solving is the tendency to engage in "all or nothing" thought.

 

Instead of using vertical farming for all crop production, vertical farming should be used as just one of several farming methods. Diversifying our crop production by using diferent farming methods and sites, is a must. This method does not have to make a significant dent to be valuable.

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I like the idea of vertical farming, and I think that because it wouldn't take up as much space as regular farm that we would be able to grow a lot more food with it.  I actually do a very small type of vertical farming by growing a lot of different fruits and vegetables along my fence and holding them up with nets.  It doesn't take much space and it is quite fun to do and watch.

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@Bgreen, I would be interested in knowing what basis you make the claims? As it casts doubt over any system that might be used... 

 

While I don't massively farm vertically, my Aquaponics system has worked pretty nicely for a long time now with no ill effects in the environment around us.

 

Please don't get me wrong, I love permaculture but just can't see it as a sustainable means of growing food in a very dry environment, but is however fantastic in environments where you have space, and plenty of water.

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I am not sold on vertical farming.  It probably is a good thing for people who live in the city, but then I get to thinking about all of the smog that is found in cities and that nastiness is getting into the plants somehow.  I don't think that I would eat food produced on top of a skyscraper.  As far as food shortages are concerned, the only way to provide enough food to the people is to have acres of traditional farms so that the food is mass produced in a clean environment.

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