© Dickson Despommier
Picture a shining skyscraper. But instead of apartments or office cubicles, its floors are home to rows of broccoli plants. Their roots dangle not in soil, but in nutrient-rich mist; their leaves are fed not by sun, but by specially calibrated LEDs. Organic food grows, water is purified, waste recycled, people are fed, and our farmlands are left to grow wild and free. This is the dream of vertical farming. Despite some notable detractors, Dickson Despommier is profoundly optimistic that this is how we will feed our exploding population, and early ventures from Korea to the Netherlands show signs he may be right.