Posts Tagged ‘urban farming’

Vertical Vegetecture

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

It remains to be seen whether vertical farming in cities is feasible economically, but it’s sure inspiring a growing number of architects. You’ll find a thumbnail history of the sky farm, as well as 16 different designs, at Dornob. Two of my favorites—complete with stunning renderings—are Eric Ellingsen’s and Dickson Despommier’s Pyramid Farm, and Vincent Callebaut’s Dragonfly Farm.

First-Ever Vertical Farming Summit

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

This weekend in Berkeley, experts from a variety of disciplines including architecture, structural engineering, greenhouse growing, composting, alternative energy, aquaculture, hydroponics, integrated biological systems, sustainable farming, and urban agriculture are meeting for the first summit on vertical farming in urban areas, also rather inelegantly known as building-integrated sustainable agriculture.

The summit’s co-organizers are Keith Agoada and James Kalin, founder and technical director, respectively, of Sky Vegetables, launched by Agoada to build hydroponic greenhouses on the rooftops of grocery stores. A list of presenters and presentations will be posted on the Sky Vegetables website at the close of the conference. Their prototype system is featured on the site. 

Edible Walls

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Urban Farming, a nonprofit group that plants crops for the needy on rooftops and other unused spaces in cities, has launched a vertical agriculture project at four locations in and around downtown L.A. The four new urban farms employ the green wall system developed by Green Living Technologies, a series of modular, 2 foot by 2 foot by 4 inch, stainless steel panels divided into growing cells that are mounted to a building facade. The four L.A. edible walls are between 24 and 30 feet across and 6 feet high and have been planted with bell peppers, hot peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, tomatillos, strawberries, spinach, leeks, and a variety of herbs. Members of the community will maintain the gardens and harvest the food.

Urban Grow Bags

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Can half-ton bags of soil lined up in abandoned lots help make cities more self-sufficient in food production? Architects Ulrike Steven and Gareth Morris of What if: Projects Ltd. think so. Working with an inner city neighborhood in London, they arranged 70 of them on concrete in a vacant lot where local residents are now growing an astonishing array of vegetables, fruits, and flowers. For the past two years these unusual containers have been transformed into a vibrant community garden.

One of the local residents describes how his initial investment of about $12 for seeds has yielded “200 lettuces, cucumbers, beetroots galore, spring onions”   so many that he and his neighbors are able to swap a portion of their harvests.

Currently, according to a report in The Times, 80 percent of London’s food comes from abroad and the rest is shipped in from other parts of the U.K. Only a minuscule amount is produced locally. However, a London Assembly member estimates that the city could produce as much as 25 percent of its food using Urban Grow Bags and other means. 

Agricultural Skyscrapers

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

Fritz Haeg has been deemed a horticultural revolutionary of late for daring to propose scrapping front lawns for “edible estates.” But his proposal pales compared to Columbia professor Dickson Despommier’s vision of entire skyscrapers devoted to growing crops. Such “vertical farms” could reduce the carbon footprint of city dwellers by conserving energy used for long-distance transport of food to urban markets. Even better, they could free up expanses of farmland to return to forest, radically reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Among the other benefits of skycropping: a year-round supply of organically grown fruits, vegetables, grains, and fish; no weather-related crop failures; no polluting agricultural runoff; lots of green collar jobs in inner cities; and an intensive form of food production capable of feeding the 3 billion additional people predicted by the year 2050, most of whom will live in urban areas.

Several sky farm designs are featured on Despommier’s website. He says roughly 150 30-story towers could feed the entire population of New York City for a year. This article, published in New York magazine last year, explains in detail how they would work.