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The Vertical Farm

I caught an interesting interview on The Diane Rehm Show on Boston's WGBH Radio yesterday.  The interview was with Dr. Dickson Despommier, author of The Vertical Farm: Feeding Ourselves and The World in the 21st Century and Bob Young, chief economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation.  

Dr. Despommier's book is coming out next week, and I can't wait to read it.  Last month I wrote about urban farming, and the concept of "vertical farming" takes urban farming to a much bigger and exciting level.  

Despommier's website says that by the year 2050, nearly 80% of the earth's population will reside in urban centers.  Meanwhile, much urban space is being underutilized and urban centers often don't have access to fresh, local food.  The solution?  Farm vertically.  Farm "up."  Build indoor farms on this land, such as tall greenhouses or using hydroponics.  Think of how green this is.  No shipping produce long distances, no tractors, and less water usage.  

There are some concerns about the idea of vertical farming.  Will these farms use a lot of energy?  What about the expenses?  What about the quality of the produce?  Will taste suffer?  What about fruit trees whose roots need a lot of space?

Meanwhile, there's a lot to take in.  I love the idea of making good use of underutilized urban space.  I love the idea of very local produce, perhaps even year round in climates that otherwise prevent that.

Listen to the interview here.  (BTW, if you don't listen to Diane Rehm, I highly recommend her program.  Everything she covers is interesting and she does lots of stories about the environment, such as today's interview with regarding a marine life census.)