Food production accounts for roughly 1/3 of greenhouse gas emissions. A large portion of those emissions come from transporting crops from farm to fork. According to the USDA, an average American meal has food represented from five different countries. For those people who attempt to buy locally by carefully reading “Made in ___” labels, they may find it ever increasingly difficult. Agricultural land surrounding cities is highly valuable, and is increasingly being converted into residential developments. The result is more deforestation to create more farm land further away from fork.
These farms would produce food within walking distance of where it was going to be consumed, use sustainable energy sources for production, and produce edible food year round that could be eaten within in short periods of harvesting thereby preserving flavor and nutritional value.
At the 2011 Manchester International Conference (MIF), it was announced that the MIF had commisioned a vertical farm, identified as Alpha Farm, which was to be completed by 2013 and would be the largest manifestation of Dr. Despommier’s vision to date. Check out the video and Dr. Despommier’s website.