Urban farming

The world population has passed the 7 billion line and has been growing during the last decades above 1% a year. The average annual growth rate is decreasing and people are moving from rural areas to the cities at a fast pace. As of today 50% of the world population is living in cities and is expected to reach about 70% in the year 2050. In absolute numbers this would be 70% of 9.5 billion persons which means a 100% more food necessary in 2050!

As food production is about 1/3 of our environmental footprint, mainly caused by producing food far from where it will be consumed and also deseasonalization of the agriculture, new farming methods are being searched for. An interesting development is called “urban agriculture” or “urban farming” which basically means cultivating food within the city limits, close to the actual consumers.

Roman Gaus explains in a TED video the closed fish-vegetable system his team has developed and demonstrates that food can be grown without soil and using 90% less water. Their concept can be located on empty roof tops.

True business models relying on the urban farming concept have arisen out of the need to depend less of fossil fuel intensive transport (95% of United States food has traveled more than 1000 miles (1600 km). BrightFarms and Sky Vegetables are two USA based companies that design, construct and even finance greenhouse farms at supermarkets roofs.

2 thoughts on “Urban farming

  1. Adulfo

    Alexander, have you tasted tomatoes grown without soil? You can find them in Mercadona (Bonnysa), cultivated at 100m from my father-in-law’s house.

    I hope we can find another solution – like returning to the seasonal food and a little more traditional way. I believe this way we can even reverse the tendency fo people moving to the cities…

    Yes, you can call me a dreamer 😉

    1. Alexander Post author

      Hi Adulfo!

      I haven’t been aware of having eaten the tomatoes you mentioned, I will take notice next time 🙂

      The tendency of people moving to the cities will be hard to reverse in underdeveloped countries, but in the modern economies this should be far more easier as jobs are shifting from physical intensive labor to administration and information processing types of jobs. The last-mentioned activities can nowadays be carried out from any place at any time. Of course there are many other variables like transport related energy costs and the quality of infrastructures and public transport service.

      You may be a dreamer, but you’re not the only one 😉


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