Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Urban Farming


Given the issues surrounding contemporary mega-farms, is it plausible to suggest reverting back to local farming practices?



The idea of creating urban farming structures which incorporate green sources of energy which allow them to not only self-sustain as structures but which also sustain surrounding communities through their outputs is an interesting topic both on a theoretical level and on the design front.

According to The Vertical Farm Project, "By the year 2050, nearly 80% of the earth's population will reside in urban centers."

There are several advantages to urban farming listed by The Vertical Farm Project:

· Year-round crop production; 1 indoor acre is equivalent to 4-6 outdoor acres or more, depending upon the crop (e.g., strawberries: 1 indoor acre = 30 outdoor acres)


· No weather-related crop failures due to droughts, floods, pests


· All VF food is grown organically: no herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers


· VF virtually eliminates agricultural runoff by recycling black water


· VF returns farmland to nature, restoring ecosystem functions and services


· VF greatly reduces the incidence of many infectious diseases that are acquired at the agricultural interface


· VF converts black and gray water into potable water by collecting the water of
evapotranspiration


· VF adds energy back to the grid via methane generation from composting non-edible
parts of plants and animals


· VF dramatically reduces fossil fuel use (no tractors, plows, shipping.)


· VF converts abandoned urban properties into food production centers


· VF creates sustainable environments for urban centers


· VF creates new employment opportunities


· We cannot go to the moon, Mars, or beyond without first learning to farm indoors on
earth


· VF may prove to be useful for integrating into refugee camps


· VF offers the promise of measurable economic improvement for tropical and subtropical
LDCs. If this should prove to be the case, then VF may be a catalyst in helping to reduce or even reverse the population growth of LDCs as they adopt urban agriculture as a strategy for sustainable food production.


· VF could reduce the incidence of armed conflict over natural resources, such as water
and land for agriculture

Though there are many possibly benefits to urban agriculture, there are some possible set backs as well. Can urban agriculture sustain society to the level it currently does; or is this intended as an addition to our current system? How does meat production fit into urban farming? How would vertical farming change the current social-economic-political structure of agriculture?

There are many things to consider when discussing urban farming. However, I believe it is a plausible solution to many problems associated with our current system of food production.

3 comments:

  1. This seems like an awesome idea! What type of light would the indoor farming use? Would every type of plant be able to grow there? Who would profit from it and run it? what would happen to typical farmers? AAAhh so many questions! haha but overall,very intriguing!

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  2. Great post
    I believe vertical architecture will really come into it’s own in towns and cities. Schools, hospitals and housing estates could have their own vertifarms, tended by a new generation of vertical farmers. No pesticides, no pollution. In less than 20 years, sustainable urban vertical farms will be commonplace

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  3. Vertical farming seems very cool. Here are some related links and clips i've seen before related to it:
    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/01/future-farming-in-detroit.php
    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/173624/june-12-2008/dickson-despommier

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