In a rapidly urbanizing world where the majority of people now live in cities, localization requires that food and fuel be produced in an urban context. At present, there are no examples of a locally sustained urban community anywhere in the world. Urban sustainability is yet to be realized primarily because urban agriculture presents a number of technological challenges. The main challenge is a lack of growing space.
Vertical growing is a new idea currently emerging in the sustainability discourse which offers great promise for increasing urban production. Vertical growing systems have been proposed as possible solutions for increasing urban food supplies while decreasing the ecological impact of farming. The primary advantage of vertical growing is the high density production it allows using a much reduced physical footprint and fewer resources relative to conventional agriculture. Vertical growing, hydroponics and greenhouse production have now been combined into an integrated commercial production system, a system that has major potential for the realization of environmentally sustainable urban food and fuel production.
Developed over several years by Valcent and Valcent (EU), the system is designed to grow vegetables and other foods much more efficiently and with greater food value than in agricultural field conditions. The VertiCrop system demonstrates the following characteristics:
- Produces approximately 20 times the normal production volume for field crops
- Requires 5% of the normal water requirements for field crops
- Can be built on non arable lands and close to major city markets
- Can work in a variety of environments: urban, suburban, countryside, desert etc.
- Does not use herbicides or pesticides
- Will have very significant operating and capital cost savings over field agriculture
- Will drastically reduce transportation costs to market resulting in further savings, higher quality and fresher foods on delivery, and less transportation pollution
- Will be easily scalable from small to very large food production situations
Former CEO Glen Kertz introduces the system:
find out more at the Valcent website