June 2010

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 Building to Grid? What about Building to Farm?

Ken Sinclair

If you are having a problems getting your mind around the horizontal reach of building to grid and net zero buildings take a look at this new vertical that put the farm back on top.

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It took humans 10,000 years to learn how to grow most of the crops we now take for granted. Along the way, we despoiled most of the land we worked, often turning verdant, natural ecozones into semi-arid deserts. Within that same time frame, we evolved into an urban species, in which 60% of the human population now lives vertically in cities. This means that, for the majority, we humans are protected against the elements, yet we subject our food-bearing plants to the rigors of the great outdoors and can do no more than hope for a good weather year. However, more often than not now, due to a rapidly changing climate regime, that is not what follows. Massive floods, protracted droughts, class 4-5 hurricanes, and severe monsoons take their toll each year, destroying millions of tons of valuable crops. Don't our harvestable plants deserve the same level of comfort and protection that we now enjoy? The time is at hand for us to learn how to safely grow our food inside environmentally controlled multistory buildings within urban centers. If we do not, then in just another 50 years, the next 3 billion people will surely go hungry, and the world will become a much more unpleasant place in which to live.

Source http://www.verticalfarm.com/

Advantages of Vertical Farming

CatNet Systems * Year-round crop production; 1 indoor acre is equivalent to 4-6 outdoor acres or more, depending upon the crop (e.g., strawberries: 1 indoor acre = 30 outdoor acres)
* No weather-related crop failures due to droughts, floods, pests
* All VF food is grown organically: no herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers
* VF virtually eliminates agricultural runoff by recycling black water
* VF returns farmland to nature, restoring ecosystem functions and services
* VF greatly reduces the incidence of many infectious diseases that are acquired at the agricultural interface
* VF converts black and gray water into potable water by collecting the water of evapotranspiration
* VF adds energy back to the grid via methane generation from composting non-edible parts of plants and animals
* VF dramatically reduces fossil fuel use (no tractors, plows, shipping.)
* VF converts abandoned urban properties into food production centers
* VF creates sustainable environments for urban centers
* VF creates new employment opportunities
* We cannot go to the moon, Mars, or beyond without first learning to farm indoors on earth
* VF may prove to be useful for integrating into refugee camps
* VF offers the promise of measurable economic improvement for tropical and subtropical LDCs. If this should prove to be the case, then VF may be a catalyst in helping to reduce or even reverse the population growth of LDCs as they adopt urban agriculture as a strategy for sustainable food production.
* VF could reduce the incidence of armed conflict over natural resources, such as water and land for agriculture

Hydroponics Growing System + Water Recycling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more insight

http://www.theage.com.au/text/articles/2010/03/15/1268501434892.html

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