Farm Skyscrapers: Food Goes Vertical
Imagine a building 20 stories tall, which combines an agricultural farm, chicken and pig husbandry, fertilizer plant, hydroponics, a water purification system, and an energy plant.
In 2004 the land used for agricultural and food production was about the size of Brazil, or 5% of the total surface of the earth, as much as 38% of the land mass. With increasing populations, land will be a limiting factor, setting greenhouse gas reducing forests against vital food production for people.
A Professor at Columbia University, Dr. Dickson Despommier has come up with one solution, urban skyscraper farms. The technology includes a self sustaining ecosystem which could purify water and human waste, create its own energy, and provide local produced food for a city. All this done organically.
The advantages of the vertical farm are many, but some of the highlights are year-round crops, no herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers, and the elimination of environmentally disastrous run off. If used on a large scale it could allow reforestation of land that has been taken for agriculture. Loss of forests is a major contributer to global warming.
Although it may be possible to include raising some animals on the farm, Dr Despommier isn't so sure about going all the way to cattle, citing concerns about humane treatment of cattle. Due to the present deplorable system of feed lots, he hasn't ruled the possibility out.http://nymag.com/news/features/30020/Tweet