Monday, August 18, 2008

Vertical Farming & Climate Change

There was an interesting program on BBC radio this morning about technological solutions to the problem of feeding a growing world population. Among other things, it dealt with vertical farming. The idea is to grow crops – and even small animals and ultimately maybe cultured meat – in high rise urban buildings. A quick Google found this site which is well worth a look:

Of course, efficient land use is the main objective, but some of the of the other advantages of vertical farming listed on the site may surprise. For example, the absence of pests would make organic farming the norm. More obviously, it brings the food production closer to the market, saving transport costs and making urban living even more eco-friendly than it already is. By drastically reducing the competition for land it might even make bio-fuels a viable solution to our transportation needs.

Taken at its most basic, our energy problem – of which producing food is just a special case – is how to convert enough of the energy arriving from the sun into forms we can use with zero net emissions of greenhouse gases. Skyscrapers growing plants for food and fuel might just be the way to go.

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