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SKY FARMING : Urban Farming Goes Vertical

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SKY FARMING : Urban Farming Goes Vertical

 

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When I first saw the headline "Farming Goes Vertical" I thought of farmers get more involved in the end process of their products. But this is much more interesting.

http://money.cnn.com/2007/09/10/technology...sion=2007091105

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This

 

It should also turn a handsome profit. Despommier's calculations peg the construction cost of a 21-story vertical farm at about $84 million, operating costs at $5 million a year, and revenue at $18 million a year, based on the price of produce at upscale Manhattan delis.

 

Doesn't quite fit with this.

 

With the world's population expected to increase by 3 billion by 2050 - nearly all of it in cities - and with 80 percent of available farmland already in use, Despommier sees a burgeoning need for such buildings.

 

Unless the hungry, or those living on a few dollars a day equivalent are suddenly going to be given Manhattan size salaries.

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Interesting concept.

sky_farming.03.jpg

 

"operating costs at $5 million a year, and revenue at $18 million a year, based on the price of produce at upscale Manhattan delis.

 

Getting product to market is one of the most expensive parts of traditional agriculture, but with a vertical farm, your retailers are just down the block. Despommier has been talking to VCs in both the United States and Europe"

 

Maybe they can build verticle farms next to cities, in places like Hong Kong

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Interesting concept.

True DrBubb, but I don't think this is the answer to the population growth that the article talks about. Doubt whether the figures add up to making a profit in those parts of the world where food is most needed. It looks to me like a niche market, I can imagine these type of buildings being part of gated communities in California, Florida, New York, London, etc, but it will be catering (no pun intended) for the elite.

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Farmhouse scrapers

Worried about feeding the world? It’s time to bring vertical farming to our cities, says Lucy Davis.

 

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By 2050, the number of people residing on the planet is expected to exceed nine billion, which represents a population increase of more than 30 percent in just over four decades. Increasingly, people will turn their backs on rural living and flock to our urban centres, and it is predicted that by 2050, 80 percent of the world’s population will live in cities, a jump of 20 percent from its current level.

 

Columbia University professor of Environmental Science, Dickson Despommier therefore believes that cities need to become more self-sufficient, and he has proposed to bring farming to the city in an upright fashion, a concept he calls vertical farming. Office blocks and residential towers would nestle against ‘farm scrapers’ that would bear fruit and vegetables grown using greenhouse methods.

 

The scientist estimates that one 18-storey tower could feed 50,000 people – although his solution doesn’t come cheap, as it is estimated that a vertical farm would cost at least US$200 million to build.

 

The advantages to such a project are numerous, including the continuous production of food (no seasons to worry about), no weather-related crop failures, and the reduction of pollution created by farm machinery and transporting food. In addition, the controlled environment of what is essentially a multi-storey greenhouse prevents the need for pesticides.

 

A number of international architects have already interpreted Despommier’s lofty agricultural dreams, and their striking designs are a world away from the muddy pastures and battered outhouses that we have come to associate with farming. French-based SOA Architects has created the Living Tower, a transparent structure powered by wind turbines, while Chris Jacobs, the creative director of United Future in Los Angeles, has unveiled plans for a structure modelled after the Capitol Records building that draws its energy from a rotating solar panel.

 

While the project may have architectural advocates from all over the world, it is not without its critics. One of its most vocal opponents is Bruce Bugbee, professor of Crop Psysiology at Utah State University, who says that the solution to feeding the world’s burgeoning population is rather to manage farmland in a more cost-effective manner – although Despommier counters that by saying, “land is disappearing faster than it can be repaired due to wind and flood erosion”. Bugbee, however, also points out that huge sums would be needed to power such farm scrapers, as they would rely heavily on electricity.

 

While many countries have expressed an interest in vertical farming, including Germany, the US and South Korea, the opportunity to realise such dreams seems mere pie in the sky at the moment. Even Despommier admits that, “negotiations are still in the preliminary stages”. But if he has his way, vertical farms will soon grace every city skyline in the world, climbing as high as 30 storeys.

 

If nothing else, vertical farms provide food for thought, and Despommier is confident he can win the approval of the world’s various governments. “When their crops fail due to floods, droughts, insect pests and war, they will come around.”

 

/SEE: http://www.squarefoot.com.hk/section/magaz...lk-of-the-town/

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Doesn't Kunstler say that the traffic will be the other way.....ie from city to the countryside? I would like to know more of why Lucy Davis thinks that people will continue to flock to the cities. I can see it being the case for indistrialising countries but how about the post-industrial ones. I don't know......I am quite confused about the future. :unsure:

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Doesn't Kunstler say that the traffic will be the other way.....ie from city to the countryside? I would like to know more of why Lucy Davis thinks that people will continue to flock to the cities. I can see it being the case for indistrialising countries but how about the post-industrial ones. I don't know......I am quite confused about the future. :unsure:

 

The process of production brought groups of workers together from single farmsteads to large farms, to villages, to towns, to cities, to other countries. Workers produce food, things or knowledge. Servitors also follow the workers. The process of grouping made production cheaper due to the reduction in the dual cost of transport from both the price of the energy and the time to transport.

 

All of this production requires interaction between people and man is visual, based on pattern recognition. We have a need to see the faces of the people that we are dealing with. Some of the knowledge workers can work from a single location away from the group but they are and will be the minority even with high speed connectivity allowing face to face communication.

 

These groups will only disband when it becomes financially advantageous to do so such as when this dual cost of transport reduces but the increases in the dual cost of transport is forcing workers to clump together in larger groups. When these groups become too large, the continuing increase in the dual cost of transport forces expensive travel between sub-areas in these groups. The cities self balance in the size of the sub-areas against the dual cost of transportation becoming villages in cities, towns in cities and in the end cities in cities.

 

The largest migratory force in a city is the servitors who cannot or will not become workers. They will move to the towns on the outlying areas of the city when their standard of living falls to below that of a servitor in that town. This increases that town’s growth and reduces the green belt between the town and the city until they merge. The workers will secure new servitors from a further distance and cycle will continue. All this just increases the number of sub-areas and the total size of the city.

 

A city will not disband due to the collapse of the largest part of its manufacturing as other businesses will see the large pool of workers and move in. Cities will only disband when the dual cost of transport increases beyond the cost of the basic necessities to such a proportion that they cannot be purchased by the servitors who at that point begin to migrate out of the city.

 

Excluding the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, IMHO it is the dual cost of transport that is the city killer.

 

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Excluding the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, IMHO it is the dual cost of transport that is the city killer.

 

Doesn't the cost of transport increase if you live outside of the city? As the cost of energy increases I see people living closer together and nearer to work/shopping than further away.

 

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The 50 Best Inventions of 2009

From a rocket of the future to a $10 million lightbulb, here are TIME's picks for the best new gadgets and breakthrough ideas of the year

 

VERTICLE FARMING

 

Real estate — the one thing we're not making any more of. That might be good news for landlords but not for the world's farmers, who have finite cropland to feed a growing global population. The answer: build up by farming vertically. Valcent, a company based in El Paso, Texas, is pioneering a hydroponic-farming system that grows plants in rotating rows, one on top of another. The rotation gives the plants the precise amount of light and nutrients they need, while the vertical stacking enables the use of far less water than conventional farming. But best of all, by growing upward instead of outward, vertical farming can expand food supplies without using more land.

 

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages...l#ixzz17N3fXCWl

 

 

 

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The 50 Best Inventions of 2009

From a rocket of the future to a $10 million lightbulb, here are TIME's picks for the best new gadgets and breakthrough ideas of the year

 

VERTICLE FARMING

 

Real estate — the one thing we're not making any more of. That might be good news for landlords but not for the world's farmers, who have finite cropland to feed a growing global population. The answer: build up by farming vertically. Valcent, a company based in El Paso, Texas, is pioneering a hydroponic-farming system that grows plants in rotating rows, one on top of another. The rotation gives the plants the precise amount of light and nutrients they need, while the vertical stacking enables the use of far less water than conventional farming. But best of all, by growing upward instead of outward, vertical farming can expand food supplies without using more land.

 

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages...l#ixzz17N3fXCWl

 

 

It is amazing what snake-oil salesmen can sucker the gullible with. Each square yard of the earth receives a certain amount of sunlight per year and no amount of chutzpah will change that basic fact. The multi-storey farming idea is so risible that I am amazed that it is still being peddled. It is not so much that land is in short supply, as human beings that are over-supplied.

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sky_farming.03.jpg

"operating costs at $5 million a year, and revenue at $18 million a year, based on the price of produce at upscale Manhattan delis.

 

I wonder what the costs and profit margins are for "upscale Manhattan delis"?

 

Their costs might be 1/2 or 1/3 of end sales prices. If so, this thing would make almost no money,

and if they have some problems, like producing the wrong food, they could easily go bust

 

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It is amazing what snake-oil salesmen can sucker the gullible with. Each square yard of the earth receives a certain amount of sunlight per year and no amount of chutzpah will change that basic fact. The multi-storey farming idea is so risible that I am amazed that it is still being peddled. It is not so much that land is in short supply, as human beings that are over-supplied.

 

Agreed, unless they can operate off "ambient light"

 

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The first thing people need to investigate is how much food can be grown from ambient light.

 

The other problem is the cost of land in a city.

In HK, under-utilised Light industrial space costs maybe 1/10 of what it costs to live in midlevels.

 

But this space is hardly in a place where people will wander over and pay the prices that they would pay

at "upscale Manhattan delis"

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8503498.stm

 

 

A British zoo is running a "vertical farming" trial, which could produce up to 20 times as many crops as conventional methods.

 

Renewable energy and recycled water means the system needs only 5% of the typical amount of water, while freeing up valuable land.

 

 

 

 

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It is amazing what snake-oil salesmen can sucker the gullible with. Each square yard of the earth receives a certain amount of sunlight per year and no amount of chutzpah will change that basic fact. The multi-storey farming idea is so risible that I am amazed that it is still being peddled. It is not so much that land is in short supply, as human beings that are over-supplied.

Each square yard of the earth's surface has a certain amount of soil. Vertical farming changes that. Light only comes from overhead between the tropics yet plants grow outside this zone, with their only source of sunlight coming from the side. The further from the tropics you go, the better vertical farming becomes.

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If anybody is interested there was a report on this on Countryfile this evening BBC1. Very interesting. Looked at Hydroponic 'gardening' in the city.

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Each square yard of the earth's surface has a certain amount of soil. Vertical farming changes that. Light only comes from overhead between the tropics yet plants grow outside this zone, with their only source of sunlight coming from the side. The further from the tropics you go, the better vertical farming becomes.

 

Do some research on photosynthesis and you will understand why the whole concept of vertical farming is in snake-oil territory - much like electric cars as an alternative to oil. Of course the surface area that is cultivated can be increased but the amount of solar radiation in a given area for a given time is fixed. Get it?

 

As often happens when I post, I come across somewhat harshly - it is just the desire to stop people being duped - those without a basic education, especially in the sciences, are prey to all kinds of schemes which can appear attractive but which can easily be rebutted with some simple maths and common sense.

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Do some research on vertical farming and you'll see it is not a solution to the problem of limited sunlight, but of limited space. You might be right if vertical farming were intended to be used in traditional fields, but it is not - the shadow cast by a vertical farm does not fall on farmland.

 

Imagine a block of flats with a window box on the first floor. Will the light reaching that box be diminished if someone puts a window box on the 2nd floor?

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Imagine a block of flats with a window box on the first floor. Will the light reaching that box be diminished if someone puts a window box on the 2nd floor?

 

Yes.

But only when the sun hits a certain elevation

 

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Doesn't the cost of transport increase if you live outside of the city? As the cost of energy increases I see people living closer together and nearer to work/shopping than further away.

I missed this one so my apologies for my late reply.

 

One of the costs of transport goes up outside of a city, the cost of the energy to go from A to B, the second cost of time goes down as you can travel further much faster due to the lack of population density.

 

Consider my current job where I have to travel 70 miles each way, each day, and it takes 2.5 hours door to door at a cost of £14 per day, yet getting into the city costs £19.50 per day and takes 3.5 hours door to door. I get a similar amount of money regardless of where my job is but working outside of the city I get an extra hour of family time, travel costs less and my children grow up in the country.

 

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Do some research on photosynthesis and you will understand why the whole concept of vertical farming is in snake-oil territory - much like electric cars as an alternative to oil. Of course the surface area that is cultivated can be increased but the amount of solar radiation in a given area for a given time is fixed. Get it?

 

As often happens when I post, I come across somewhat harshly - it is just the desire to stop people being duped - those without a basic education, especially in the sciences, are prey to all kinds of schemes which can appear attractive but which can easily be rebutted with some simple maths and common sense.

 

 

Every child knows successful gardening requires soil, water, plants and sunlight and that if you are missing any of those ingredients; your efforts are doomed to failure. Every child is wrong.

 

It may not be possible to replace all four elements as yet, but along with artificial lighting as a replacement for the sun, soil is one more element of gardening we are learning can be successfully omitted under the right circumstances.

 

Yes, it is possible to grow plants without soil. It is called hydroponic gardening and although it may seem to border on science fiction, it actually works quite well and can be a great deal of fun.

 

Hydroponics is not a new development. It has been around since nearly the beginning of recorded history. That wonder of the ancient world known as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon was an exercise in hydroponics and rice has been grown hydroponically for centuries.

 

Today, hydroponics is used in a variety of settings. Wherever soil is unavailable, hydroponic gardening seems to appear. Wildcatters on offshore oilrigs grow their own tomatoes. Cooks on nuclear submarines hydroponically grow vegetables to use in there crew's meals. Right now, plants are growing on orbiting space stations without a single grain of soil.

 

You see, hydroponic gardening is not simply something at which to marvel at from afar. It can be something you can do at home, as well. You can grow your own plants, fruits, vegetables and flowers hydroponically. [/size]

http://www.self-sufficient-life.com/Hydroponic_Gardening/

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also known as Aquaponics

 

We dont need to starve !

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Vertical farming will need Aquaponics

 

Aquaponics - works on any scale from small back yard to large farms

 

http://www.greenenergyinvestors.com/index....showtopic=11159

Hydroponics & Growing Food

by KIM GREENHOUSE on MARCH 10, 2010

in FOOD & WATER,HEALTH & WELLNESS,NUTRITION,SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY,SOCIAL ISSUES

 

Paul Brentlinger

 

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only, or in an inert medium such as perlite, gravel, or mineral wool. This method of growing crops will become more and more valued as the cost of food rises and as the weather around the world becomes more erratic.

Researchers discovered in the 19th century that plants absorb essential mineral nutrients as inorganic ions in water. In natural conditions, soil acts as a mineral nutrient reservoir but the soil itself is not essential to plant growth. When the mineral nutrients in the soil dissolve in water, plant roots are able to absorb them. When the required mineral nutrients are introduced into a plant’s water supply artificially, the plant no longer requires soil to thrive. Almost any terrestrial plant will grow with hydroponics.

 

We invited Marilyn Brentlinger and her son Paul, the owners of Crop King, a company that has been in business for 27 years, to explain both the wonders and myths of this growing process. Crop King offers controlled environment growing systems and technology for specialty crops including hydroponic vegetables, aquaculture and exotic mushrooms.

 

/more: http://itsrainmakingtime.com/2010/marilynbrentlinger/

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