Urban (vertical) Farming

Sustainability Problem: 

By 2050, the world’s population is expected to swell to 9.6billion, with around 66% living in urban areas. This projection is leaving many cities wondering how they will feed all those people.

Solution: A Swedish food-tech company called Plantagon is proposing that cities consider building what it calls “plantscrapers” — office towers that contain giant indoor farms. Plantagon is constructing its first plantscraper in Linköping, Sweden.

  • Called The World Food Building, the tower will operate hydroponically, meaning vegetables (mostly greens) will grow without soil in a nutrient-rich, water-based solution.
  • This building will produce approximately 550 tons of vegetables annually — enough to feed around 5,500 people each year.
  • The front of the 16-story tower will include the farm, while the back will include the offices. About two-thirds of the building will be devoted to offices, while the other third will include a huge indoor farm.
  • The crops will grow using both natural sunlight and LEDs. The LEDs will be calibrated to specific light frequencies to maximize production.
  • Robots will perform many of the farm’s processes, keeping operational costs down.
  • Compared to an outdoor farm of the same size, the plantscraper will generate more food while using less land and water. The tower will save 1,100 tons of CO2 emissions and 13 million gallons of water annually.
  • This plantscraper will include a spiraled food production line, which automatically moves the plants from the bottom to the top and back again while they grow. The length of the cycle would depend on the crop, but would normally take 30 days
  • This project demonstrates how to feed cities of the future when they lack land, water, and other resources

Stakeholders: City municipality, builders and contractors, urban farming specialist, large multinational companies

Deployment: Construction of this $40 million building began in 2012, and it’s set to open by early 2020.

  • City administration and planners should visit Plantagon and meet its management to understand the technology, landscape, city issues and administrative challenges.
  • City should engage large multinational companies, including large food retail giants operating within the city, who may be willing to rent / invest space in such buildings
  • For engagement, best practice sharing and leading towards solutions – there will be need to conduct round-table discussions and conference between urban framing specialist, building contractors, developers, investors and city administrators
  • Since this is longterm solution and will need time to implement, learn from Plantagon’s experience once its operational in 2020.

Source: 

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3 thoughts on “Urban (vertical) Farming

  1. vertical farming is one of the innovate ways to feed the growing population in areas where there isn’t a lot of arable land. There are a lot of start ups experimenting with ways to improve vertical farming. The down side is energy usage.

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  2. The business model of Plantagon is based on retrofitting, extending existing buildings, developing new buildings and establishing a symbiotic system. The whole goal of the initiative is to reduce transportation costs and emissions.

    Like

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