I'm not sure if I can really support this. It seems like there's something evil about completely removing agriculture from the environment. I mean, agriculture is already extremely unnatural, especially the way industrialized countries do it, but this is just nuts!
The people at Organitech have been creating systems to create leafy vegetables in fairly sterile hydroponic greenhouses for some time. The plants grow extremely quickly, are entirely free from pests (and dirt) and almost all of the harvesting is done by robots, so there are no labor costs.
But now Organitech is looking to remove that last vestiage of nature...the sun. They're thinking of turning the hundreds of thousands of discarded shipping containers that are too cheap to ship back to China into organic farms. The shipping containers could be filled with racks of hydroponically grown, pesticide-free, disease-free, low-water-using plants all controlled robotically for optimal yield.
The containers could then be stacked creating, in essence, vertical farms that would have a per acre yield of thousands of times more than conventional farms.
The container farms could be distributed throughout the world, and would produce food from Siberia to the Sahara as long as they were plugged in. This would signficantly reduce transportation consts, and make communities much less susceptible to global markets and climate change.
So I think I'm coming down on the side of good, though I will admit that I don't want my species to be any more separate from the natural environment than we already are.
For more on Organitech, check out this awesome video (turn down the voice track and you could totally rave to it.)
written by vigilant20, May 30, 2007