Urban indoor farming could mean food security.
If current farming practices are maintained, the planet’s population will require a new farming area the size of Brazil by 2050. But nearly all the arable land in the world is currently being farmed—and we’re rapidly losing this farmland to climate change.
One solution proposed is vertical farming—growing food inside and on high-rise buildings.
Designer Gordon Graff has proposed a “SkyFarm” for Toronto’s theatre district that he says can feed 35,000 people per year. At 58 floors and 8 million square feet of growing area, it can produce as much as a 420-hectare farm. This is because the SkyFarm utilizes hydroponics and artificial lighting to grow food year-round. Produce becomes the epitome of local food for urban residents.
Graff has also collaborated with Toronto-Centre Green Party candidate Chris Tindal to create a proposal for GROW Housing, an affordable housing project in the Moss Park area that incorporates a vertical farm to supply enough food for residents.
Skyfarms aren’t just for vegetarians. In collaboration with the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Fisheries, the architecture group MVRDV has developed a concept for a vertical farm network for pigs, dubbed “Pig City”. According to MVRDV, this automated farm creates better living conditions for the pigs. A fish farm on the roof provides food, and there is a central abattoir. Waste is turned into biogas to power the building. MVRDV envisions towers located near major Dutch cities and the port to reduce transport costs.
Pig City and the SkyFarm are still just concepts, but they speak to the realities of our consumption patterns and the need to consider viable alternatives to current farming methods.