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Against ID Cards
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9,799 Posts
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What a fantastic idea! :)

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From http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/6752795.stm

Vertical farming in the big Apple

Downtown Manhattan is hardly a place you would associate with agriculture. Rather, with its countless restaurants, cafes, shops and supermarkets this is a place of consumption.

And so every morsel, every bite of food New Yorkers munch through every day must be trucked, shipped or flown in, from across the country, and across the world.

Now though, scientists at Columbia University are proposing an alternative. Their vision of the future is one in which the skyline of New York and other cities include a new kind of skyscaper: the "vertical farm".

The idea is simple enough. Imagine a 30-storey building with glass walls, topped off with a huge solar panel.

On each floor there would be giant planting beds, indoor fields in effect.

There would be a sophisticated irrigation system.

And so crops of all kinds and small livestock could all be grown in a controlled environment in the most urban of settings.

That means there would be no shipping costs, and no pollution caused by moving produce around the country.

It's all the brainchild of Columbia University Professor Dickson Despommier.

He and his students took existing greenhouse technology as a starting point and are now convinced that vertical farms are a practical suggestion.

Professor Despommier lists many advantages of this revolutionary kind of agriculture. They include:

* Year round crop production in a controlled environment

* All produce would be organic as there would be no exposure to wild parasites and bugs

* Elimination of environmentally damaging agricultural runoff

* Food being produced locally to where it is consumed

And, says the professor, vertical farming would allow some existing traditional farms to be returned to natural forests. Good news in a time of global warming.

"Even if it's not quite natural.... a little bit factory-like in terms of its production, here's what you're going to get back: you're going to get back the rest of the earth. And I'll take that any time."

The plan is to make the whole complex sustainable.

Energy would come from a giant solar panel but there would also be incinerators which use the farm's waste products for fuel. All of the water in the entire complex would be recycled.

Several hours drive north of the city in upstate New York, Ed Miller's 18,000 apple trees are in full bloom.

Like farmers across the world he has lived through decades of constant change and innovation. But he remains, at heart, a man of the soil.

So what does he think of the virtual farm concept? He is, perhaps, surprisingly positive: ''It looks like a fancy greenhouse," he says. "It's fabulous, it will be very interesting. It will be phenomenal."

For now, vertical farms are a virtual concept. But the scientists insist that the theory is sound.

All they need now, they say, is the money to make this a reality.



 

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Just Relax
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22,871 Posts
This is a great idea. Not new but refreshed. We really should be looking towards this type of technology. It just requires one brave investor and we are away .....
 

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Banned
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2,741 Posts
Not a new idea though is it?
Ive heard from that theory quite a while ago.
 

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Banned
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But it wasn't being reported about in the English language, so presumably the BBC did not understand, and subsequently did not know.
 

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BAND
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3,239 Posts
I came up with this idea while on a walk one day. I see someone's beaten me to it, drats! Thinking about it though, it would be a way to get skyscraper proposals pushed forward, perhaps having some levels of agriculture and then including offices or apartments on higher levels, or vise versa.
 

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Towerholic
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1,421 Posts
What about the environmental impact of having to produce so much glass? Although as an alternative to all these throwaway polytunnels maybe not such a bad idea.

I'd rather see cows being put in these buildings though so that all their methane farts can be collected and then used to power electrical generators:banana:
 
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