Innovators are full of questions.Nature has answers.


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Vertical Farming


Atelier SOA's attractive vertical farm model / Curbed SF, S.. / LicenseCC-by-nc-sa - Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike

3-D agriculture for the modern human

Inspiring Strategies

Product or process
Despommier believes the current agricultural system to be in failure. Among the potential solutions, he advocates for a 3-D farming methodology employing controlled hydroponic production. These vertical farms would enable farming closer to, or within, city limits. This would allow a superior growing environment for plants, improved per-acre output, and a food production economy requiring minimal transit. Coupling with wastewater treatment, renewable energy production, and biofuels could further enhance the benefits.
Challenges solved
Delocalized food production, limited arable land, increasingly urban and growing global population.
Differences from existing products
Humans are moving en masse into urban environments, and population continues to increase globally. The finite stock of arable land and the density of humanity in cities presents an opportunity. Climate change also represents a threat to agricultural security, as weather patterns and pest-ranges shift. Vertical farming would allow a controlled farming environment proximal to the consumers.
The biomimicry story
Nature does not produce and ship materials en masse. It is far more typical to produce material local to the usage. Additionally, in a direct metaphor, a rainforest is a 3-D photosynthetic space, not the relatively 2-D traditional farm field. In this farming strategy, 3-D plant biomass production and local resource production would be coupled.

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over 5 years ago
How can we get started on a prototype of this idea? I am working on an urban garden idea and I would love to integrate something of this nature into the project. Here is a description of the location and my current idea. (

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About the Product

Company: Dick Despommier (major thought leader)

Product Phase: Under development

Product Type: Farming methodology