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Posted on on December 25th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (



Vertical Farms May be the Only Crop Solution for the Middle East

seawater-daytimeProposed vertical farms like this one in Dubai may be the only way for supplying food to Middle East countries.

Dickson D. Despommier is a professor of public health at Columbia University in New York, and if he gets his way, the future will be full of “vertical farms’ (a farm on every floor) in cities across the world, including major players in the Middle East.

In a recent oped column in the New York Times, Despommier looked into his crystal ball and came up with these insights as to why.

“If climate change and population growth progress at their current pace, in roughly 50 years farming as we know it will no longer exist. This means that the majority of people could soon be without enough food or water. But there is a solution that is surprisingly within reach: Move most farming into cities, and grow crops in tall, specially-constructed buildings. It’s called vertical farming.”

More comments from his insightful article:

“….apply the vertical farm concept to countries that are water-challenged — the Middle East readily comes to mind — and suddenly things look less hopeless. For this reason the world’s very first vertical farm may be established there, although the idea has garnered considerable interest from architects and governments all over the world.”

“Vertical farms are now feasible, in large part because of a robust global greenhouse initiative that has enjoyed considerable commercial success over the last 10 years. [Editor’s note: Dr. Despommier has started a business to build vertical farms. ”

“Vertical farms would also make cities more pleasant places to live. The structures themselves would be things of beauty and grace. In order to allow plants to capture passive sunlight, walls and ceilings would be completely transparent. So from a distance, it would look as if there were gardens suspended in space.”

“When people ask me why the world still does not have a single vertical farm, I just raise my eyebrows and shrug my shoulders. Perhaps people just need to see proof that farms can grow several stories high.As
soon as the first city takes that leap of faith, the world’s first vertical farm could be less than a year away from coming to the aid of a hungry, thirsty world. Not a moment too soon.”

Vertical farms in Israel and other countries in the Middle East? At the moment, it sounds like science fiction, but what the future holds, no one knows for sure.

Dr Despommier might just be on to something very, very…..vertical!

::NY Times

More on vertical farms:
Vertical Farm In Dubai Uses Seawater To Sustain Crops
Will Farmers of the Future Work in Skyscrapers?

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