The future building will help to optimize citywide production, storage and consumption of everything from food and energy to water. Brought about the concern for depleting natural resources, lack of physical space, and drastic climate change; food production systems, like green spaces, will become integral elements of the sustainable and smart city. Vertical farming techniques and urban agricultural systems, such as hydroponics, will be utilized to address the impeding crisis in world food production and follow the same fundamental methodology that urban planners have used for years, building up, opposed to out.
By the year 2050, nearly 80% of the earth’s population will reside in urban centers. Applying the most conservative estimates, the human population will increase by about 3 billion people. An estimated 109 hectares of new land (about 20% more land than is represented by the country of Brazil) will be needed to grow enough food to feed them, if traditional farming practices continue as they are practiced today. At present, throughout the world, over 80% of the land that is suitable for raising crops is in use (sources: FAO and NASA).
The Vertical Farm must be efficient (cheap to construct and safe to operate). Vertical farms, many stories high, will be situated in the heart of the world’s urban centers. If successfully implemented, they offer the promise of urban renewal, sustainable production of a safe and varied food supply (year-round crop production), and the eventual repair of ecosystems that have been sacrificed for horizontal farming.
Advantages of Vertical Farming
▪ 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
Another interesting fact is that the city of Chicago have one the largests vertical farm, or indoor farming facilities in the World. FarmedHere will eventually pump out 1 million pounds a year of organic greens like basil, lettuce, mint, and spinach while providing hundreds of local jobs.