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Learning about Agriculture…from Las Vegas?

Glitzy lights, extravagant hotels, hookers, dice games…and a farm? The infamous buffets of Sin City may soon be able to advertise their food as wholesomely local. A 30-story farm is in the works for Las Vegas – an agricultural skyscraper designed to include over 100 different crops, from miniature banana trees to strawberries.

Nevada officials believe the vertical farm could produce enough food for 72,000 people a year – and $25 million in agricultural products, most going to local casinos. They also expect it to be a popular tourist attraction, and believe it may help change the image of Las Vegas as a place of excess and discount online levitra waste.

I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if Vegas changes its image (purposely or otherwise), but the planned vertical farm will offer a testing ground for increasingly important urban agricultural methods. The $200 million project is hoped to be completed by 2010.

Source: Next Energy News


Agrichar and Carbon-Negative Energy

Agrichar was mentioned in our interview with Karl Schroeder as something he would spend millions of dollars on developing if he had a budget to use to support environmentally beneficial technologies. Until then, I hadn't been familiar with the concept, but if a bright guy like Karl thought it was important, I wanted to find out more about it.

A recent article by Jeremy Faludi on the WorldChanging website (where Karl is also a contributing blogger, but the article is wow look it obtain cialis without prescription not by him) gives a good overview of buy levitra in uk the cialis express delivery potential that agrichar, or terra preta as it is also known, has to levitra india provide energy, as well as carbon sequestration and improved soil nutrient levels.

I've also written a longer article of my own about it over at GreenOptions.

Previously on EcoGeek: Carbon-Negative Biofuels.


The Vertical Farm Project Update

EcoGeek's recent coverage of An Off-Grid Vertical Farm for Downtown Seattle garnered some attention and generated discussion. But we should recognize that it is far from the first or only really interesting concept for going vertical in growing food in urban areas.

A Columbia University microbiologist, Dickson Despommier, advocates 30-story skyscrapers that would, each, be able to grow food for 50,000 people, taking up roughly one city block. From Plenty Magazine, The Farmer in the High-Rise

"It's not just a way of generating food," says Despommier. "It's a way of dealing with municipal waste, recycling water, and using methane digestion to help a city be sustainable."

While it is not happening, to me this concept is not "science fiction," but more an innovative concept waiting for the confluence of events that will make it into reality.

In 2001, the Dutch agriculture minister supported building a vertical farm in Rotterdam called Deltapark, in response to flooding farmland, livestock diseases such as swine fever, and growing agricultural pollution. Though the park hasn't been built, the idea of linking several industries together to reduce the environmental burden of agriculture has become increasingly popular, says Jan Broeze, the Wageningen University scientist who dreamed up Deltapark. "If you cluster various activities, like greenhouses, fish farming, and manure processing, then you create a sufficient scale for more sustainable food production," says Broeze, who is working with a group of farmers in Holland to link a chicken farm, a manure processing system, and greenhouses. "The idea is to use wastes from one industry to sustain another."

What this discussion suggests, however, is potentially one of the serious obstacles before this project would go forward: stove-piping of costs and benefits need to cialis sale usa be broken, with a holistic understanding (and accounting) so that payoffs can be fully understood and valued. Producing more food closer to consumers would help the nation reduce oil usage in the face of peak oil. Is there a financial valuing of this additional security that could go to the builder/operator? This type of production potentially would reduce traffic on streets and highways (fewer food delivery trucks from out-of-state). Could the builder/operator be credited with some of the savings on highway maintenance and express cialis delivery reduced congestion on the roads? Being able to monetize these "external" costs and benefits would enhance the value of pursuing such projects. Some countries and societies are prepared, it seems, to pursue this system-of-system calculation, with not just the Dutch in active conversation with Despommier.

The Vertical Farm Project has received considerable press attention recently, with articles in Popular Science, US News and World Report, and a great piece in New York Magazine which begins:

Urban farming has always been a slightly quixotic endeavor. From the small animal farm that was perched on the roof of the Upper West Side's Ansonia apartment building in the early 1900s (fresh eggs delivered by bellhop!) to community gardens threatened by real-estate development, the dream of preserving a little of the country in the city is a utopian one. But nobody has ever dreamed as big as Dr. Dickson Despommier, a professor of environmental sciences and microbiology at Columbia University, who believes that "vertical farm" skyscrapers could help fight global warming.

Imagine a cluster of 30-story towers on Governors Island or in Hudson Yards producing fruit, vegetables, and grains while also generating clean energy and purifying wastewater. Roughly 150 such buildings, Despommier estimates, could feed the entire city of New York for a year. Using current green building systems, a vertical farm could be self-sustaining and even produce a net output of low price viagra clean water and energy.

150 buildings? Feed all of New York City? Perhaps, it is time to consider this seriously. Consider the physical footprint for this. And, well, consider the 3 billion additional people to be living on buy generic viagra in canada the planet by 2050.

By the year 2050, nearly 80% of the earth's population will reside in urban centers. Applying the most conservative estimates to current demographic trends, the human population will increase by about 3 billion people during the interim. An estimated 109 hectares of new land (about 20% more land than is represented by the country of Brazil) will be needed to grow enough food to cailis canadian farmacy feed them, if traditional farming practices continue as they are practiced today. At present, throughout the world, over 80% of the land that is cheap viagra alternative suitable for raising crops is in use (sources: FAO and NASA). Historically, some 15% of that has been laid waste by poor management practices. What can be done to avoid this impending disaster?

Could the Vertical Farm Project offer a real window on how not just to feed 9.2 billion people, but to feed them well while reducing everyone's "footprint" on the Earth?

The Vertical Farm Project is the home site for this concept and getting viagra offers a very robust and sophisticated look at the opportunities and options for going vertical with food production. There is a lot of tremendously interesting material there, with serious looks at challenges and benefits.

If you are at all tempted by the discussion, the Vertical Farm Project site is recommended for a look.


OrganiTech: Vertical Robotic Farms

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 just try! levitra mail order 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 visit web site generic levitra soft tabs hundreds of recommended site levitra philippines 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.)

Via Wired
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