May 1, 2016
by Tamanna Virmani
Source: Sky Greens
When you think of New York City, what’s the first image that comes to mind? For people who have visited or live here, maybe it’s one of the following – crowded, dense, lights or skyscrapers – but not “green” and certainly not “farming”. However, that picture may change with the advent of urban vertical farming. So what exactly is vertical farming and how is it different from other concepts such as roof top farming, hydroponics or aquaponics?
Vertical farming is the practice of producing food in vertically stacked layers, inclined surfaces or integrated into other structures, using controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) technology where environmental factors such as light, humidity and temperature can be controlled. The concept of vertical farming in NYC was developed about 15 years ago by Dr. Dickson Despommier, a former public health professor at Columbia University, with contributions from his students. In The Vertical Essay, Dr. Despommier cites that the earth’s population will increase by about 3 billion people
by 2050. Currently, over 80% of arable land throughout the world is already in use and another 15% is unusable due to poor land management. That means if traditional farming practices continue, there won’t be enough land to grow food for the expanding population. Vertical farming is a means of maximizing space by growing food inside the tall buildings of an urban environment. In fact, he refers to it as the third green revolution
March 29, 2016
by Megan Nordgrén
It no longer seems strange to hear that children in New York City public schools are growing their own food; in fact, it has almost become the new norm. Of the 1800 public schools in the city, nearly one-third now have school gardens registered with GrowNYC
, and this number has been growing by 75-100 gardens every year since the registry was begun in 2011. This agricultural trend has found broad support from many organizations and foundations providing resources and funding, as well as from public officials. One outspoken proponent of school gardens, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, announced that she would dedicate up to $1 million in capital funding for “innovative school gardening projects”
during this fiscal year.
The gardens are as varied as the city neighborhoods, ranging from small containers, to indoor hydroponic systems to high-tech rooftop greenhouses. A new trend is indoor aeroponic gardening, where many plants can grow in a vertical tower
. Small indoor systems such as these have several critical benefits: they allow schools to “start small” and test out a new gardening program; they allow for year-ground growing with grow lights; and they give schools with no viable outdoor space an opportunity to participate in growing their own food.