Supporters of vertical farms envision a future that has skyscraper farms beside work places and residences in urban centres. Their thinking is that by growing food where people are will help alleviate pressure on our soil and land use – and they’re right. Indeed, a recent realized spinoff benefit of vertical (or just indoor) farming is after a natural disaster these insulated farming systems can feed people in the impacted area.
In a way, Harvey was a test for Moonflower Farms. Founded by Marques in December 2015, it was one of the state’s very first indoor “vertical” farms—where plants are stacked in trays on shelves, instead of laid out horizontally across larger plots of land. In these high-tech structures, plants don’t rely on sunlight or soil, rainwater or pesticides, but LED lights and minerals instead. The goal of vertical farms isn’t just to save space; it’s also to find a more economical way of producing food for the growing population—and to reduce the costs and consequences of getting that food to where people actually live.
“We are kind of at the beginning of a revolution,” Per Pinstrup-Andersen, a graduate-school professor at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology, told me. “We’re at the beginning of a very rapid development in the use of indoor controlled facilities for producing vegetables and some fruits,” he said. “No matter what happens with climate change, you still have your controlled environment.”
Sky Green has opened the world’s first vertical faem in Singapore and it’s well beyond a proof of concept. The functioning farm produces one ton of food every other day!
This new farm will hopefully encourage more urban vertical farming to increase local food consumption while cutting down on expensive food transportation.
The farm itself is made up of 120 aluminum towers that stretch thirty feet tall. Looking like giant greenhouses, the rows of plants produce about a half ton of veggies per day. Only three kinds of vegetables are grown there, but locals hope to expand the farm to include other varieties. The farm is currently seeking investors to help build 300 additional towers, which would produce two tons of vegetables per day. Although the $21 million dollar price tag is hefty, it could mean agricultural independence for the area.
If cities needed to be redesigned to fit a changing environment, a design like this one for the city of San Francisco would not only be environmentally friendly, but this one is estimated to be able to feed over 7 million people.
The world of vertical farming could offer so much to the world as it concerns food, the environment, and our living space issues, as its estimated that we could have as many as 9 billion people on the planet by 2050. It will take a lot of planning, and a lot of energy, but if most of these buildings can be somewhat self energy sufficient, vertical farming could be viable within a relatively short period of time.
Designed for the Hudson Yard area of Manhattan, Eric Vergne’s Dystopian Farm aims to provide New York with a sustainable food source while creating a dynamic social space that integrates producers with consumers. Based upon the “material logic of plant mechanics”, the biomorphic skyscraper is modeled after the plant cells of ferns and provides space for farms, residential areas, and markets. These organic structures will harness systems such as airoponic watering, nutrient technology and controlled lighting and CO2 levels to meet the food demands of future populations.