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The Future of Food

Food CRISPR GMO Gene Modification Agriculture

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#41
kjaggard

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honestly agro forestry and food forests are an amazing potential for local food production with a permaculture and sustainability in both environmental and infrastructure impact.

 

Growing nut trees with smaller fruit trees around them, and then shrubs, vines and ground cover crops in clusters where the deep roots of the nut trees grab deep mineral nutrients, the wider fruit tree roots spread and distribute (with a fungal network) nurtients and provide habitat for bugs and worms that compost the leaf litter of the trees into rich compost for the plants under them and provide protection from direct sunlight, wines can climbtrees, beans pull nitrogen from the air and add it to soil and the birds that live in the trees and shrubs eat insect pests and excrete fertaliser.

 

Favoring Perennial crops means pretty much free food after the planting ever after. And moving away from grains and replacing them with nutmeal and bean flours would go a very long way to being able to grow more on the tiered levels of a food forest, while nutritionally being a better option and evironmentally too.

 

more to the point of diet, we need to move more in the direction of using vegetables and leafy greens as the majority of our dietary foods. Nutritionally they are superior. And I can say from experience that eating 3 cups of mixed green salad makes me fill up faster and full longer than eating two dinner rolls; meanwhile my nutrition needs are better met and it's effects on blood pressure and cholesterol (not to mention body fat and fitness) are much better for vegetables and leafy greens.

 

Throw in insect flour, eggs, mushrooms, poultry and fish; and you have a healthy food supply that can support all the nutritional needs of a family on less than an acre of land if done through food forests. If you do some of it in home aeroponic and hydroponic setups and some of it in virtical urban farming buildings you can easily supply food needs for a small city.


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#42
caltrek

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Speaking of the nexus between food and health:

 

 

The line between food and medicine is blurrier than ever

 

https://www.theverge...ulation-science

 

Introduction:

 

(The Verge) Is tea medicine? What about special Collagen Beautèa that promises to support your bones? This week, The Wall Street Journal reported on the growing popularity of foods and beverages enhanced with collagen, an ingredient used in wrinkle cream that hasn’t really been proven to be helpful when you eat it. The line between “food” and “medicine” has always been blurry, and, traditionally, the US Food and Drug Administration only regulates the latter. But as people start chasing foods with more fanciful health promises, it’s time that the FDA takes a closer look before we waste our dollars and endanger our health.

 

Though collagen is a protein found in bones, it is most commonly known for being an ingredient in skin cream, often to prevent wrinkles. But why stop at skin? Last year, 281 new food and supplement products featuring collagen were introduced in the US, the WSJreported, citing Innova Market Insights. And while there’s little evidence that eating collagen will harm you, there is also no solid research suggesting that eating collagen will help either.

 

For now, it’s unlikely that people will poison themselves with collagen-infused energy bars, though animal bones do hold lead, which might be harmful in the long run. (Still, the far greater risk is that people are wasting money.) But as health and “wellness” become more and more popular, and we’re all told to live our best lives, we’re going to hear more and more of these claims. It’s no longer enough for a food to just be “healthy” and not processed. We also want food to make our skin better, strengthen our joints, and keep our hair from falling out.

 

These collagen bars and teas are considered “functional foods,” or foods that claim to be healthy beyond just basic nutrition. Technically, the FDA does regulate “functional foods,” but in practice, it doesn’t; the FDA has no official definition for functional foods. That makes regulation impossible.

food.0.0.png


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#43
caltrek

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West Virginia Teachers Rebuilding the Local Economy

 

http://prospect.org/article/west-virginia-teachers-won-their-strike-now-theyre-rebuilding-local-economy

 

Introduction:

 

(American Prospect) It’s early January, but the high tunnel at Mount View High School in McDowell County, West Virginia, is sweltering. High tunnels are inexpensive greenhouses, unheated but covered in plastic, that make it easier for farmers to extend the growing season for their fruits and vegetables. In this case, it’s strawberries: About 300 strawberry plants, donated by a McDowell farmer, are growing in raised beds.

 

The students at Mount View chose to plant the strawberries, says Jenny Totten, who works with the high school students as the McDowell County Community Development Coordinator at the West Virginia Community Development Hub. The students don’t get to make a lot of their own decisions, she says. So she lets them choose what they want to do, whether it’s the work that they’ll do in the high tunnel or what they’ll make with the harvested plants. The kids don’t just learn gardening and cultivating, but also how to make their own products from the crop, and how to sell them.

 

Because it’s winter, the strawberry plants haven’t borne fruit yet. When they do, the students intend to make—and sell—strawberry jam. With other fruits and vegetables that they’ll grow, the students have chosen to make and sell smoothies, jams and jellies, and ready-to-sell vegetable boxes. To make even more growing space, Totten has plans for the land surrounding the high tunnel: spread out some mulch and plant more raised beds, to protect the produce from harsh chemicals that could exist beneath the surface, because the high tunnel is built on reclaimed coal mine land. The whole school is.

 

Ideally, Totten says, students could eventually sell fruits and vegetables to the county school system so that the foods that they and other students eat are from their own county. There are three high tunnels in total at schools across the county, and plans for more.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#44
caltrek

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Counterpoint: 

 

Quote

 

For one thing, the linkage of local farming to efficiency and sustainability is dubious. The locavore obsession with reducing food-miles has been roundly debunked as a false economy that may actually worsen carbon emissions. That’s because the high-volume, long-haul food transportation perfected by industrial agriculture is fantastically more energy-efficient than the low-volume, short-haul shipments of locavore distribution systems.

http://observer.com/...-of-locavorism/

 

 

Also from the linked article cited:

 

 

The industrial food system has its problems—and enormous advantages that locavore schemes can’t beat. But what’s most frustrating to me about the urban farming movement is its gaping obliviousness to New York’s real environmental virtues.

 

Consider some iconic acre of Brooklyn vacant lot. You could grow food on it—or you could throw up a 30-story apartment complex housing 600 people. That’s 600 people who won’t be settling in low-density exurbs where they would be smeared across 60 acres of subdivision; in turn, those 60 acres of vacant exurb could remain farmland or forest.

 

 

This is a good point worth further discussion.  For me it goes back to the basic idea behind zoning: to ensure that the highest and best use is made of the zoned land. Not an irrational concept.

 

A couple of points come to mind:

 

  1. The example cited is Brooklyn.  To me, urban farming is best in areas experiencing economic decline.  Detroit comes to mind.  In such places, urban farming can replace vacant lots that have otherwise virtually zero use value.
  2. Urban farming s a way to get back into connection with nature.  Housing 600 people is certainly important, but allowing those people an integrated environment so as to enhance their quality of life is also important.  Parks are certainly valuable in that regard, but urban farm plots when not taken to an extreme can also serve that function. 

 As to reducing food miles.  That is a good point.  Farmers who truck in their produce from a hundred miles away in pickups that are substandard in terms of mileage efficiency can certainly affect the otherwise favorable impact of a farmers market. 

 

A lot depends on many variables.  Sure,  "high-volume, long-haul food transportation perfected by industrial agriculture" may outperform not-so-local farmers even when they import produce from a greater distance.  Still, a lot of questions occur to me.  For example, industrial agriculture may be good very good at sending produce to a regional warehouse, but what about the methods of distribution from that warehouse?  

 

Also, what if that inefficient pick-up truck I used in my example is replaced by a hybrid or electric vehicle?

 

That is just to scratch the surface on how complicated the question is that is being raised.    


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#45
funkervogt

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  1. The example cited is Brooklyn.  To me, urban farming is best in areas experiencing economic decline.  Detroit comes to mind.  In such places, urban farming can replace vacant lots that have otherwise virtually zero use value.

True, but cities like Detroit generally have higher tax rates and more rules that make it more expensive for businesses. Even in Detroit, it might be more profitable for a company to build vertical farms just outside the city limits (note that the car companies did this long ago by moving their factories out). 

 

I've been to Detroit and have read some books on its problems, and I'm convinced the city just needs to cede large swaths of land at its peripheries to the surrounding counties. 

 

 

 

Urban farming s a way to get back into connection with nature.  Housing 600 people is certainly important, but allowing those people an integrated environment so as to enhance their quality of life is also important.  Parks are certainly valuable in that regard, but urban farm plots when not taken to an extreme can also serve that function. 

I agree that urban farms benefit the social fabric of cities by connecting people from different walks of life and giving city dwellers the opportunity to learn gardening skills they otherwise would never learn. However, that doesn't make urban farms an efficient or cheap way to supply cities with food, which is our overriding goal. 

 

 

 

For example, industrial agriculture may be good very good at sending produce to a regional warehouse, but what about the methods of distribution from that warehouse?  

I don't know, but they're still probably more efficient than small farmers driving their produce to farmers markets in pickup trucks. 

 

 

 

Also, what if that inefficient pick-up truck I used in my example is replaced by a hybrid or electric vehicle?

What if the industrial farms and corporate food distributors also use hybrid or electric vehicles? Why do you assume only the small farmers will have them?



#46
caltrek

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I've been to Detroit and have read some books on its problems, and I'm convinced the city just needs to cede large swaths of land at its peripheries to the surrounding counties.

 

 

Interesting comment.

 

 

 

What if the industrial farms and corporate food distributors also use hybrid or electric vehicles? Why do you assume only the small farmers will have them?

 

I don't.  I am just pointing out the complexity of the situation and the many variables involved. 

 

Also, if the small farmer is using a method of transport that is as efficient as the corporate food distributor, then wouldn't the small farmer use less net energy if he or she is transporting from a closer location?


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#47
funkervogt

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Also, if the small farmer is using a method of transport that is as efficient as the corporate food distributor, then wouldn't the small farmer use less net energy if he or she is transporting from a closer location?

But they wouldn't be equally fuel efficient. The corporate food distributor would still have an edge. Think about the fact that today, small farmers and big farmers use diesel-powered trucks to transport their food to market. And yet...

 

 

A typical semi truck, meticulously packed and scheduled by corporate bean-counters, will carry 20 tons of food six miles or so on a gallon of diesel—that’s 120 ton-miles per gallon, in the jargon of freight fuel-efficiency. A freight train gets a whopping 480 ton-miles per gallon. Compare them with, say, the local farmers at the Union Square Greenmarket, whose light trucks and vans typically haul more dead weight—farm-stand, vehicle and driver—than produce. The most fuel-efficient farmer I talked to there reckoned that at peak harvest he burned nine gallons of diesel to bring two tons of potatoes 127 miles from Roscoe, N.Y., for an efficiency of 28 ton-miles per gallon. Hauling each spud from upstate thus requires as much fuel as moving it 585 miles by corporate semi or 2,340 miles by rail. Those disparities hold even for short intra-city trips: if a cargo van consumes just a gallon of gas hustling 200 pounds of tomatoes from a Brooklyn micro-farm to a Midtown market, it will burn more fuel per tomato than a fully loaded semi would bringing them up from Florida.

http://observer.com/...-of-locavorism/

 

We're back to where we started. 



#48
funkervogt

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There are special cases where it's more energy efficient to produce food on small farms and sell it locally, but those cases are exceptions to the rule. The centralized, big agriculture model in which food is transported over long distances to market is here to stay, and not simply thanks to corporate greed or consumer ignorance. It's the most efficient method. 



#49
Alislaws

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I think that's true for now.

 

(although it would depend how far you're shipping things. If I'm buying American farm produce here in the UK, its almost certainly going to be better for the environment for me to buy something at least from Europe)

 

In a decade or two with electric vehicles, and a much cleaner power grid, it will start to be pretty irrelevant. 

 

Although over the next few decades we could see city based vertical farms taking 1000s of kms off the journey between production and destination, which may change the calculation again.

 

For them its a question of weather the much higher energy cost and Fixed costs, are offset by the increased efficiency and very low environmental impact.  For now this is barely true for a couple of products where freshness is key, but as energy and equipment prices drop this will become more feasible. 



#50
funkervogt

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The type of fuel and type of vehicle used to transport food from farm to market only represent fractions of the cost of food. Even if those costs disappeared, big farms would still benefit from superior economies of scale. 

 

Also, instead of building vertical farms, might it be cheaper to enclose flat farmland under glass roofs? Basically, to turn farms into giant greenhouses? Construction costs would be lower since the greenhouses would only be one story high, as opposed to a multi-story vertical farm. 

 

I don't understand why people think about vertical farms in the middle of cities, but people ignore the potential of greenhouses on farmland within 1 - 4 hours' drive of cities. 



#51
caltrek

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I wouldn't argue that small urban farms are more cost efficient than big corporate farms.  I think you have made a good case for why that would not be the case.

 

 

 

I agree that urban farms benefit the social fabric of cities by connecting people from different walks of life and giving city dwellers the opportunity to learn gardening skills they otherwise would never learn.

 

 

This is where you and I do agree.  Further, I think it may not be a case of "corporate" or "small urban farm (or garden plot)."  Rather "corporate" and  "small urban farm (or garden plot)."


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#52
caltrek

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Just by coincidence, I came across this article:

 

Can Local Control of Economy Assuage Globalization’s Excesses?

 

https://nonprofitqua...tions-excesses/

 

Introduction:

 

(Nonprofit Quarterly) In an extended thought-piece for Local Futures, publication founder Helena Norberg-Hodge makes her case for “localization” as a long-term strategy for building stronger communities. Norberg-Hodge has spent much of the past 40 years working in Ladakh, a region of northern India bordering Tibet. This experience has given her a unique perspective regarding some of the drivers of social problems. For example, Norberg-Hodge notes that until the 1980s, “the Buddhist majority and Muslim minority lived peacefully side-by-side.” Then, that changed as global pressures began to undermine norms of coexistence. Norberg-Hodge explains,

 

Muslims began requiring their young daughters to cover their heads with scarves. Buddhists in the capital began broadcasting their prayers over loudspeakers, so as to compete with the Muslim prayer call. Religious ceremonies once celebrated by the whole community—Buddhist and Muslim alike—became instead occasions to flaunt one’s wealth and strength. In 1989, tensions between the two groups exploded into violence that took several lives. I heard mild-mannered Buddhist grandmothers, who, a few years earlier were sipping tea with their Muslim neighbors and even celebrating each other’s religious festivals, declare: “We have to kill the Muslims before they finish us off.”

 

Conventional media accounts, Norberg-Hodge writes, “attributed the conflict to old ethnic tensions flaring.” Only one problem: There had been remarkably little strife between the two groups in the region for the previous 600 years.

 

What changed, Norberg-Hodge contends, is that cheap imported food obtained through global trade undermined local farming, pushing more youth to look for often unstable employment in cities. The resulting economic insecurity and disempowerment often led to “anger and extremism.”

 

 

Of course, what may be true in India may not apply to the U.S. or European countries.

 

ladakhian-girl.jpg

Ladakhian Baby Girl,” Roberto Santini


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#53
kjaggard

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In a decade or two with electric vehicles, and a much cleaner power grid, it will start to be pretty irrelevant. 

 

 

That doesn't really resolve the point. Basically we are talking an upscaled version of one farmer with a basket of 50 potatoes vs 50 farmers carrying 1 potato. There is eventually a point at which the distance for carrying the basket full becomes less efficient, but it's a long way out when the alternative is as inefficient as 50 farmers with 1 potato each. (just take those numbers and change it to tons of potatoes and you start to see the situation)

 

upgrading to electric trucks is essentially raising the tide, it raises all ships. you've just essentially told a bunch of one potato farmers they can ride bikes, but so can the ones with baskets and so you've not resolved in economy of scale advantage.


Live content within small means. Seek elegance rather than luxury, Grace over fashion and wealth over riches.
Listen to clouds and mountains, children and sages. Act bravely, think boldly.
Await occasions, never make haste. Find wonder and awe, by experiencing the everyday.

#54
caltrek

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Yes, but if the 50 farmers only carry their potatoes an average of one mile each, whereas the 1 farmer carries his potatoes a median of 500 miles...

 

The 1 mile may be an exaggeration, but the 500 miles certainly is not. 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#55
kjaggard

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vertical farms are not meant to be a replacement for farms on the horizontal

 

 

 

Also, instead of building vertical farms, might it be cheaper to enclose flat farmland under glass roofs? Basically, to turn farms into giant greenhouses? Construction costs would be lower since the greenhouses would only be one story high, as opposed to a multi-story vertical farm. 

 

I don't understand why people think about vertical farms in the middle of cities, but people ignore the potential of greenhouses on farmland within 1 - 4 hours' drive of cities. 

vertical farms are not meant to be a replacement for farms on the horizontal. It's intended to make otherwise unfarmable areas farmable, while providing the advantages of all seasons crop growth of selected high demand crops in a given region. It also means that there is a chance to grow feed crops for meat animals and farm animals eggs and dairy without otherwise using land that could be better used for vegetables. 

 

Basically it's taking a smaller footprint for crops. grown with less need of fertalizer , water, herbacides and insecticides. and largely aiming to remove the need to bring crops into the city at all by having them grown roughly where they are consumed. There is also n ability to automate the process. and while this can to some degree be done on farm land, footprint being more spread out and the need still to bring the crops to the consumer result in poorer ROI. Besides we already know how to build vertical farms. We build parking garages, office buildings, factories, malls etc. that would serve those purposes just fine. and many existing structure could be converted just fine.


Live content within small means. Seek elegance rather than luxury, Grace over fashion and wealth over riches.
Listen to clouds and mountains, children and sages. Act bravely, think boldly.
Await occasions, never make haste. Find wonder and awe, by experiencing the everyday.

#56
kjaggard

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Yes, but if the 50 farmers only carry their potatoes an average of one mile each, whereas the 1 farmer carries his potatoes a median of 500 miles...

 

The 1 mile may be an exaggeration, but the 500 miles certainly is not. 

that depends on the number of potatoes the larger one can carry and again there is a neat little bit where 50 pounds moved at once is more efficient (with regard to engines and machines moving them) than moving 50 pounds as 50 individual units. try it. put 900 playing cars on one side of your house and carry them to the other. Now take 900 playing cards and move them one at a time across the room you are in.


Live content within small means. Seek elegance rather than luxury, Grace over fashion and wealth over riches.
Listen to clouds and mountains, children and sages. Act bravely, think boldly.
Await occasions, never make haste. Find wonder and awe, by experiencing the everyday.

#57
funkervogt

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vertical farms are not meant to be a replacement for farms on the horizontal

 

 

 

Also, instead of building vertical farms, might it be cheaper to enclose flat farmland under glass roofs? Basically, to turn farms into giant greenhouses? Construction costs would be lower since the greenhouses would only be one story high, as opposed to a multi-story vertical farm. 

 

I don't understand why people think about vertical farms in the middle of cities, but people ignore the potential of greenhouses on farmland within 1 - 4 hours' drive of cities. 

vertical farms are not meant to be a replacement for farms on the horizontal. It's intended to make otherwise unfarmable areas farmable, while providing the advantages of all seasons crop growth of selected high demand crops in a given region. It also means that there is a chance to grow feed crops for meat animals and farm animals eggs and dairy without otherwise using land that could be better used for vegetables. 

Wouldn't you be able to do all those same things at lower cost by enclosing flat farmland under glass roofs? 

 

 

 

Basically it's taking a smaller footprint for crops. grown with less need of fertalizer , water, herbacides and insecticides. and largely aiming to remove the need to bring crops into the city at all by having them grown roughly where they are consumed. There is also n ability to automate the process. and while this can to some degree be done on farm land, footprint being more spread out and the need still to bring the crops to the consumer result in poorer ROI. 

If you enclosed flat farmland under glass roofs and (mostly) seal the crops off from the rest of the environment, don't you also get the same benefits related to reduced need for inputs like herbicides? 

 

I kind of agree with your claim that operations inside vertical farms are more heavily automated than those on traditional flat farms, but at the rate AI is advancing, I don't think the disparity will last more than another 20 years. Fully automated combine harvesters are coming. 

 

From everything I've seen, the ROI for vertical farms is much worse than the ROI for traditional flat farms, even in cases where the vertical farms are in cities. Vertical farms are only profitable if they're used to produce niche crops. 

 

 

 

Besides we already know how to build vertical farms. We build parking garages, office buildings, factories, malls etc. that would serve those purposes just fine. and many existing structure could be converted just fine.

We also know how to build greenhouses, so we know how to enclose flat farmland under glass (or clear plastic) roofs. Again, I think that would be better than vertical farms. 

 

Not every abandoned building could be repurposed as a vertical farm. They need large windows, proper orientation towards the south to get maximum sunlight, and no other structures blocking their sunlight (yes, I know there are some windowless vertical farms that rely on artificial lights, but that's wasteful for obvious reasons). Additionally, the closer the building is to its urban market, the more expensive it will be thanks to higher real estate values, higher taxes, and more fees (cities are notorious for their red tape). At some point, it doesn't make economic sense to build a vertical farm because the opportunity cost of not using that parcel of land to make a condo high-rise gets too great. Cities also tend to have higher minimum wages and utility fees, which will make it more expensive to operate vertical farms. 

 

While I understand the appeal of having vertical farms in cities, I don't think they make sense from an economic or ecological standpoint. It would probably be a better idea to build large, single-story greenhouses on farmland an hour's drive outside a city, and to truck the food in. 


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#58
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vertical farms are not meant to be a replacement for farms on the horizontal

 

 

 

Also, instead of building vertical farms, might it be cheaper to enclose flat farmland under glass roofs? Basically, to turn farms into giant greenhouses? Construction costs would be lower since the greenhouses would only be one story high, as opposed to a multi-story vertical farm. 

 

I don't understand why people think about vertical farms in the middle of cities, but people ignore the potential of greenhouses on farmland within 1 - 4 hours' drive of cities. 

vertical farms are not meant to be a replacement for farms on the horizontal. It's intended to make otherwise unfarmable areas farmable, while providing the advantages of all seasons crop growth of selected high demand crops in a given region. It also means that there is a chance to grow feed crops for meat animals and farm animals eggs and dairy without otherwise using land that could be better used for vegetables. 

Wouldn't you be able to do all those same things at lower cost by enclosing flat farmland under glass roofs? 

 

 

 

Basically it's taking a smaller footprint for crops. grown with less need of fertalizer , water, herbacides and insecticides. and largely aiming to remove the need to bring crops into the city at all by having them grown roughly where they are consumed. There is also n ability to automate the process. and while this can to some degree be done on farm land, footprint being more spread out and the need still to bring the crops to the consumer result in poorer ROI. 

If you enclosed flat farmland under glass roofs and (mostly) seal the crops off from the rest of the environment, don't you also get the same benefits related to reduced need for inputs like herbicides? 

 

I kind of agree with your claim that operations inside vertical farms are more heavily automated than those on traditional flat farms, but at the rate AI is advancing, I don't think the disparity will last more than another 20 years. Fully automated combine harvesters are coming. 

 

From everything I've seen, the ROI for vertical farms is much worse than the ROI for traditional flat farms, even in cases where the vertical farms are in cities. Vertical farms are only profitable if they're used to produce niche crops. 

 

 

 

Besides we already know how to build vertical farms. We build parking garages, office buildings, factories, malls etc. that would serve those purposes just fine. and many existing structure could be converted just fine.

We also know how to build greenhouses, so we know how to enclose flat farmland under glass (or clear plastic) roofs. Again, I think that would be better than vertical farms. 

 

Not every abandoned building could be repurposed as a vertical farm. They need large windows, proper orientation towards the south to get maximum sunlight, and no other structures blocking their sunlight (yes, I know there are some windowless vertical farms that rely on artificial lights, but that's wasteful for obvious reasons). Additionally, the closer the building is to its urban market, the more expensive it will be thanks to higher real estate values, higher taxes, and more fees (cities are notorious for their red tape). At some point, it doesn't make economic sense to build a vertical farm because the opportunity cost of not using that parcel of land to make a condo high-rise gets too great. Cities also tend to have higher minimum wages and utility fees, which will make it more expensive to operate vertical farms. 

 

While I understand the appeal of having vertical farms in cities, I don't think they make sense from an economic or ecological standpoint. It would probably be a better idea to build large, single-story greenhouses on farmland an hour's drive outside a city, and to truck the food in. 

 

 

 

that sounds  like a great idea.



#59
kjaggard

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you are again lumping all food growth under either or options. That's not the point of a vertical farm. 

 

http://www.bbc.com/f...nts-agriculture

 

the part you are missing beyond the point of vertical farming needing less resources than even regular greenhuse farming is realestate. regardless of where you place a vertical farm a 100 square meter base containing 1000 square meters of crop growing area means that yo could fit ten times more crop growth a yeild in any sized space, and doing so in a all 4 seasons, using less water, and with much less crop loss to pests, drought, etc. add to that the increased amount of automation possible making it feasable for fewer people needed to work the farms.

 

Fewer people with less land, can produce more food, at less cost in more seasons, anywhere ... including derelict urban lots getting them closer to their markets and making otherwise unfarmable land farmable.

 

that is the point. not that vertical farms are a replacement for fields and greenhouses.


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#60
Alislaws

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Large farms under glass, or otherwise separated from the natural environment is a good idea, and will probably become a bigger deal over time as we get better at automating these sort of things. Also if you build a massive greenhouse that slopes upwards towards the centre, you can put turbines in the middle and use it as a solar powerplant which would be neat, and you could use it to power grow light during winter, to get increased yields. 

 

Vertical farms can and will replace almost all forms of farming eventually. The reason this is desirable comes down to space efficiency, and control. A vertical farm is more efficient in using energy, water and nutrients, as well as less environmentally harmful. The downside is mostly Initial cost, land prices, and then once it is operating its just energy cost and maintenance.

 

If we're getting energy from Fusion, or renewables then that's less of an issue, and when we can tell our fleets of robots to build a skyscraper and then sit back and let them handle it, the initial cost and maintenance will be much less of an issue. At the moment construction is extremely expensive, but it won't necessarily remain that way.

 

All Humanity's off world colonies and space habitats will probably use automated vertical farms, and even if they don't catch on here on earth (Agriculture lobbying?), the tech will be Improved for space use. We might jump back to using greenhouses on Mars or something, but it won't be as efficient if we can't stick a thousand layers in. Also the sun is further away there. 

 

If we could take all the land used today by people for farming, and cut it by a factor of a thousand, by taking all the farmland near cities and building huge multi-storey vertical farms on it. We could basically turn 80% of human occupied land into national parks and let nature do its thing. 

 

Also you could hook your vertical farm directly up to your clean meat facility, and have some of your vegetables broken down into nutrients and fed into your meat production. Then you can just build a town or city around a massive food facility which produces everything everyone needs to eat.

 

Similar principles could eventually be used to farm things like cotton and flax. Your automated flax growing vertical farm could feed into an automated processing facility producing Linen, which feeds into an automated clothing manufacturing facility which produces linen clothes, sheets, etc.

 

Surely in the long run that's got to be the most efficient way to do things? (Until we can basically build start trek replicators)







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