Vertical Farms Get the New York Times Treatment


Eric Ellingsen and Dickson Despommier

Bina Ventkataraman in The New York Times covers vertical farms: "What if "eating local" in Shanghai or New York meant getting your fresh produce from five blocks away? And what if skyscrapers grew off the grid, as verdant, self-sustaining towers where city slickers cultivated their own food?"

The politicians are even getting into it; Scott Stringer, Manhattan borough president, is "sketching out what it would take to pilot a vertical farm," and plans to pitch a feasibility study to the mayor's office within the next couple of months, he said. "I think we can really do this," he added. "We could get the funding."

The Times also speaks to some skeptics. ""Would a tomato in lower Manhattan be able to outbid an investment banker for space in a high-rise?" asks planner Armando Carbonell. "My bet is that the investment banker will pay more."


SOA design

Augustin Rosenstiehl, a French architect who worked with Dr. Despommier to design a template "living tower," said he thought that any vertical farm proposal needed to be adapted to a specific place. Mr. Rosenstiehl, principal architect for Atelier SOA in Paris, said: "We cannot do a project without knowing where and why and what we are going to cultivate. For example, in Paris, if you grow some wheat, it's stupid because we have big fields all around the city and lots of wheat and it's good wheat. There's no reason to build towers that are very expensive."

For Dr. Despommier, the high-rise version is on the horizon. "It's very idealistic and ivory tower and all of that," he said. "But there's a real desire to make this happen." :New York Times with a good ::Slide show
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