Can We Farm in Skyscrapers? Dickson Despommier's New Book Says Yes

In his new book, the Columbia University professor argues that "vertical farms" can efficiently feed the cities of the future. Is it wishful thinking?

Dickson Despommier, who has made appearances on GOOD here and here, is one of the world's leading advocates of "vertical farming." The idea is we should grow our food in multi-story, closed-loop urban agriculture facilities as a way of reducing the resources used to produce and transport it.

Despommier has a new book out called, appropriately, The Vertical Farm. Here he is introducing the idea.


Vertical farming has its critics. George Monbiot, for example, is harsh in his assessment of the idea. Monbiot argues that vertical farms could not, as Despommier claims, function without pesticides, and moreover, that the costs to build and operate a vertical farm make it impossible as a business.

And the biggest problem, according to Monbiot, is light:

The light required to grow the 500 grammes of wheat that a loaf of bread contains would cost, at current prices, £9.82. (The current farm-gate price for half a kilo of wheat is 6p). That's just lighting: no inputs, interest, rates, rents or labour. Somehow this minor consideration – that plants need light to grow and that they aren't going to get it except on the top storey – has been overlooked by the scheme's supporters.


If—knock on wood—we do invent some new super-efficient solar power technology, that might lower the costs of the lighting significantly. But then again, it would also lower the energy costs of traditional farming as well.

I haven't read Despommier's book. Perhaps he addresses some of these concerns. But for now count me as a reluctant skeptic.

Via Worldchanging

via Jim Browing / YouTube

Jim Browning is a YouTuber from the UK who has an amazing ability to catch scammers in the act.

In this video, he responds to a scam email claiming he bought a laptop by breaking into the scammer's computer. In the process he uncovers where the scammers work, their banking information, and even their personal identities.

"I got an 'invoice' email telling me that I had paid for a $3800 laptop," Browning writes on his YouTube page. "No links... just a phone number. It's a real shame that these scammers emailed me because I was able to find out exactly who they were and where the were."

Keep Reading
HG B / YouTube

Danielle Reno of Missouri left her car running and it was stolen by thieves. But she wasn't going to let her car go so easily.

For 48 hours this owner of a pet rescue tracked the charges being made on her credit card. Ultimately, she found her car at a local Applebee's, and then went after the thieves.

Keep Reading
via Bossip / Twitter

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders took aim at former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg onstage at Wednesday's Las Vegas Democratic debate, likening the billionaire businessman to President Donald Trump and questioning his ability to turn out voters.

Sanders began by calling out Bloomberg for his stewardship of New York's stop and frisk policy that targeted young black men.

Keep Reading