Vertical farms: the idea captures our imagination. We envision their upward-twisting frames nestled between the steel and chrome skyscrapers of the big city. Each floor overflows with plant life, bringing local food and a breath of fresh air to cities with a footprint smaller than any “horizontal” farm.
But is vertical farming practical, or just a fantasy?
While setup and electrical costs remain expensive, a wave of vertical farmers around the world has been finding new ways to cut costs and streamline systems to make vertical farming a reality. They may not be ‘farmscrapers’ but these five vertical farms achieve production rates up to 100 times more efficient per square foot than traditional farming while bringing year-round local produce to their communities.
by Christa Avampato
A new paradigm for senior living is rising in famously lavish Singapore—one in which baby boomers can age in a comfortable environment that aids their mental and physical wellbeing through growing their own food.
Imagine a senior living environment based on the hanging gardens of Babylon — a place rich with lush vegetation and beauty of mythic proportions, but in a way that doesn’t place any additional strain on a city’s budget. In fact, it could be crafted as a way to grow the local economy.
The island city-state of Singapore is known as one of the most rapidly developing countries in the world. With 5.3 million people living on 275 square miles of land, Singapore is also one of the most densely populated countries in …
According to Green Spirit Farms‘ Research and Development Manager Daniel Kluko, the future of farming is heading in one clear direction: vertical. “If we want to feed hungry people this is how we need to farm,” said Kluko.
Kluko believes that vertical farming offers a very important benefit in today’s world of scarce land and resources— the potential for unparalleled plant density. After all, how else can a farmer grow 27 heads of lettuce in one square foot of growing space?
Green Spirit Farms was started by Daniel’s father Milan Kluko under his engineering company Fountainhead Engineering LTD. The idea for the farm emerged while the company was evaluating indoor, urban farm models in North America for a non-profit client—a process which piqued Milan Kluko’s interest about the viability of a vertical farming operation.
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.