The land is dotted with vacant and abandoned homes. The economy is in tatters. Unemployment, infant mortality, poverty, crime, and drug abuse are major challenges facing the dwindling population.
This is the land capitalism left behind.
A new enterprise combining urban farming, substance abuse rehabilitation, and an alternative economic model is attempting to provide that recovery on the many fronts in which it is needed.
“Vertical farming isn’t futuristic; it’s already here,” says vertical farming visionary, Dr. Dickson Despommier. “In 2004 we put the idea on the internet and only got three hits on Google.” Eight years later that same search query on Google now yields 29,800,000 hits.
Although recently retired from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Dr. Despommier shows no signs of slowing down. He continues to spread awareness to universities, municipalities, architects and agricultural specialists on the importance of ecological principles in vertical farming design and introduce his sustainable vision for our future cities.
I recently sat down with Dr. Despommier to discuss his vision for vertical farms, whether certain locales are better suited for farms of this type, his studies on the correlation between unsustainable cultivation and rapid deforestation, and more.
In a world where climate change continues to wreak more and more havoc on growing seasons and arable land becomes increasingly scarce and expensive, viable farming alternatives are the Holy Grail of sustainable agriculturists.
Local Garden of Vancouver, BC, a subsidiary of the vertical farming technology company Alterrus, is the latest challenger to the intractable problem of providing local fresh produce for future urban communities.
The company (they only launched production three months ago) is using the VertiCrop™ growing system created by Alterrus to raise baby greens, arugula, basil, spinach, kales and bok choy in a system that cultivates 10 times the amount of crops as traditional agriculture in the same amount of space, but uses 90 percent less water and terrain. And it does so on top of a parking garage in the middle of downtown Vancouver.
With 90% of its Crop Pre-sold and a Land Lease Rate of $1 Per Year, a Vertical Farm Rises in WyomingJanuary 16, 2013 | Trish Popovitch
If you’ve ever ventured west into the beautiful rolling hills and breathtaking rock formations of windy Wyoming you may note an absence of green fields. Home of wandering elk herds, wild mustangs and ubiquitous antelope, Wyoming boasts the freshest air and streams in the nation. Fertile soil is another thing entirely. That’s why the ‘outside of the box’ thinking of the folks at Vertical Harvest, a three story vertical hydroponic greenhouse operation that will be located in the town of Jackson, means so much to the equality state.
At the Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation conference this past fall, we held a panel discussion that examined the potential for sustainable farming solutions and technologies to feed a growing population. The panel featured the following panelists: Thaddeus Barsotti …
Scarcity of clean water poses an enormous threat to food security around the world. Both in the developing world, including China and India, and even here in the United States, farmers increasingly face the arduous challenge of obtaining sufficient clean water to grow crops. Faced with this daunting challenge, the team behind the GreenTop platform developed an innovative system that uses wind power to capture atmospheric water moisture, which in turn is used to grow fruits and vegetables hydroponically. By creating an affordable, scalable technology that relies solely on renewable energy, the GreenTop platform enables farmers to boost food production, particularly in developing countries where the climate is arid, arable land scarce and access to clean water limited.
The words are right there on Alegria Fresh’s homepage: “Food is thy medicine; medicine is thy food.” This quote from Hippocrates could easily serve as part of the hydroponic vertical farm’s mission statement.
With a background in biochemistry and oncology, Erik Cutter—managing director of the Laguna Beach startup—decided during pre-med school that pharmaceutical drugs are not the answer to our nation’s health problems. “When I graduated with a degree, I did not believe in pharmaceuticals as a means of preventative health,” explains Cutter. “For me, it’s always been about preventative medicine and how food could do that. I don’t believe people have the information they need. I think we spent the last 50 years being disconnected from where food comes from. So, I decided to utilize the knowledge I have gained to help people obtain the truth about healthy foods and understand how important it is to know where your food comes from.”
There is only ONE DAY LEFT to lock in your ticket at the Rooster Special Ticket Price for the Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference (details below) at UCLA. The conference has recently added a number of new sponsors including Whole Foods Market, Palumbo Family Vineyards and Wine, the UCLA Anderson School of Management’s Entrepreneur Association and Net Impact Branch.
The Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference, to be held at UCLA Anderson School of Management on October 24, will feature a Who’s Who lineup of Speakers and Sponsors
Los Angeles, CA – Some of the best-known names in sustainable agriculture will bring their innovative products and ideas to the Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference, a one-day event focused on highlighting the economic benefits of growing food sustainably.
The conference, which will take place at UCLA Anderson School of Management, will examine how innovative farmers and entrepreneurs are turning their passion for sustainability into business opportunities.
There’s a lot to the Stephen Ritz story. As told in rapid fire by the man himself the whole quickly disperses like an exploding star. He’s a kid from the South Bronx, the world’s oldest 6th grader. As an athlete in a different life he spent time in NBA camps. For a spell he would consume two-dozen eggs a day. Yes, he has had a critical health issue – more than one even. “I would have eaten myself to death,” he says letting the words hang in the air. He is high energy. He is a teacher. He is a parent. He is the originator and driving force behind an agriculture educational project called The Green Bronx Machine.
Growing Up Hydroponically – Practical Motives Drive Family Strawberry Farm to Increase SustainabilityMay 25, 2012 | Jessica Morey-Collins
Strawberry farmers must contend with numerous challenges from supplying plants with just the right amount of water to fending off numerous soil-borne pests. Coupling the plant’s innate sensitivity with staunch environmental regulations, it can be difficult for growers to balance sustainability and crop health. Temecula Valley Strawberry Farms (TVSF), though, has found a solution to sustainably and profitably grow strawberries using a unique vertical hydroponic system that benefits the environment and the local community without sacrificing yields.
To Create Energy Efficient Vertical Farms, U. of Georgia Agronomist Focuses on Intelligent Light SystemMay 4, 2012 | James Hataway
University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental doctoral student Erico Rolim de Mattos foresees a world where exploding human populations, global climate change and land overdevelopment has rendered mankind incapable of producing enough food to sustain humanity.
This scenario is a very real possibility, and it has captured the minds of specialists from organizations like NASA and the United Nations.
Columbia University professor Dickson Despommier admits that when his book The Vertical Farm, Feeding the World in the 21st Century was released, he wasn’t entirely optimistic about the idea catching on immediately. After all, his proposition that cities and towns should develop local, indoor, entirely sustainable, multi-story farms is antithetical to the industrialized, globalized farm practices that became the norm in the last century.