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The Vertical Farm: The World Grows Up by…

The Vertical Farm: The World Grows Up

by Dickson Despommier

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Because I think this is very likely all wrong.
  theparsley | Mar 24, 2016 |
Long on hope and enthusiasm, short on providing a detailed plan for implementation. Despommier is an inspired guy and certainly an optimist. His ideas are good, but until something concrete (or glass and plastic as the case may be) becomes of the vertical farm concept, it will remain a fantasy. It is a very good concept though. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
This book discussed ideas that were theoretical but I would have liked to see more practicality. Although the topic is extremely important and potentially life-saving, discussing theories is not where we need to be right now. I understand the author probably hopes this book will inspire people to make prototypes but perhaps he would be better off designing and implementing smaller models of the vertical farm and then scaling it up to a level that is viable to support towns and cities. ( )
  jimocracy | Apr 18, 2015 |
Dickson presents a reasonable concept of large scale hydroponics. He spends a great deal of time providing a history lesson and presenting why this would be a good idea. He spends less but some time presenting how this might be done. Basically his ideas on how this might come to be seem somewhat naive. I suspect that eventually vertical farming will become financially feasible, but until then it will not be taken seriously. I mildly recommend the book. ( )
  GlennBell | Apr 17, 2012 |
The current method of human agriculture is in bad shape, and is ultimately unsustainable. This book provides an alternative.

Agriculture as we know it has worked for many thousands of years, but the system is breaking down. If there is such a thing as The Chronicle of Farm Life in the 20th Century, it is "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck. Three things that had a huge impact on agriculture were the internal combustion engine, and the discoveries of oil and dynamite. When irrigating fields, runoff is created that is full of chenicals and fertilizers applied to those fields. During floods, runoff gets even worse, because that chemical-filled water gets into the rivers, which empty into the ocean, creating aquatic "dead zones." In less developed countries, there is little or no attempt to filter or treat the water, and since fecal matter (human and animal) is frequently used as fertilizer, that just spreads lots of intestinal parasites. In many places, a 55-gallon drum of clean water is now more valuable than oil.

Greenhouse gases are turning the world's oceans more acidic; the time will come when calcium carbonate, a central component of coral and mollusk shells, cannot form. Various bugs and plant diseases can also do immense damage to a wide area of crops. As agriculture becomes more commercialized, and farm sizes grow, food safety becomes a huge concern. Corporations want to cut costs wherever they can (like food inspection), and consumers have made it clear that food safety is at the top of the list.

Imagine stacking several high-tech greenhouses on top of each other. Hydroponic gardening, which uses one-third the water of regular agriculture, is well known. Aeroponic gardening, where the roots are misted at the right times, uses one-third the water of hydroponics. The water can be treated and recycled so that it can be used over and over. No artificial chemicals would be needed. Such a vertical farm can be built in the city, vastly increasing the availability of fruits and vegetable for inner-city residents. The outer walls would be a type of clear, hard plastic, which is lighter than glass, to let in every available bit of sunlight. The corresponding amount of farmland would be allowed to turn back into whatever it was, usually hardwood forest, before it became farmland.

Of course, theory is easy, while turning the theory into reality is much harder. This a fascinating book, even though it is light on the reality of what a vertical farm would look like. If it does nothing more than get people thinking about other methods of agriculture, this is a gem of a book. ( )
  plappen | Aug 17, 2011 |
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Book description
A general overview of the vertical farm concept. Not a technical treatise; for more technical information you will need to look elsewhere, but the reference section is fairly comprehensive. The author has a website dedicated to the same topic at: http://www.verticalfarm.com.
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When the author, a Columbia professor, set out to solve America's food, water, and energy crises, he didn't just think big, he thought up. His stroke of genius, the vertical farm, has excited scientists, architects, and politicians around the globe. These multi-story intensely managed indoor farms, grown inside skyscrapers, are capable of producing traditional greenhouse crops, as well as pigs and fowl, year-round. They would provide solutions to many of the serious problems the world is facing.… (more)

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