Growing Vertical; September 2008; Scientific American Earth 3.0; by Mark Fischetti; 6 Page(s)
A typical farm burns vast quantities
of fossil fuels to plow fields, sow seeds,
reap harvests and truck products many
miles to population centers. It spreads
heaps of petroleum-based fertilizers,
which then run off into streams and watersheds. It also consumes rivers of freshwater and casts pesticides across the countryside. Raising chickens and pigs further insults the earth with unhygienic filth.
Why not grow grains, vegetables and
fruits right where the expanding crowds
of consumers are: in the middle of a city,
inside a tall glass building? Poultry and
pork could be reared there, too. A vertical
farm would drastically reduce the fossilfuel
use and emissions associated with
farm machinery and trucking, as well as
the spread of fertilizer and its runoff.
Crops could grow and be harvested yearround
instead of at the end of one season,
multiplying annual yield by at least four
times. Urban agriculture could also convert
municipal wastewater into irrigation
water, reducing a city¿s refuse problem.
And consumers would get the freshest
food possible, without pesticides.