ORGANITECH, an Israeli company which has developed automated, self-contained, hydroponic systems for nurseries that can produce commercial quantities of clean crops. Planting, harvesting and packaging are performed entirely by intelligent robots, monitored by an advanced control center, eliminating the need for manpower. Plants are grown in plastic-foam (styro-foam) trays that float and rotated in nutrient rich water. In the closed, monitored environment there is no need for harmful insecticides and pesticides. Suitable for many types of leafy vegetables including numerous lettuce varieties and other leafy vegetables.
The brainchild of Dr. Dickson Despommier is a 21 storey skyscraper farms that could potentially be as productive as 588 acres of land and grow up to 12 million lettuces a year. (See Forced Green post 9/25/2008 – An Idea I really Like).With the world’s population expected to increase to 3 billion by 2050 and almost 80% of farming land in use, the idea has never been more relevant.
But what if instead of waiting until 2050 or utilizing the hydroponics system only for commercial nurseries or farmland, combine these two great ideas. Now add into the equation the existing empty/abandoned warehouses, buildings, and parking structures in cities around the world. Renovate these buildings to access the maximum amount of sunlight structurally allowable. Keep any existing water based fire suppression systems (sprinklers), for irrigation. Add in tubular natural solar lighting and solar powered grow lights. Install wind turbines and rain capturing systems on all the roofs. Utilize buildings with sturdy roofs and the top level of parking structures for fruit tree orchards. On the buildings’ upper levels, start the seedlings for the hydroponic leafy vegetables and herbs. Arranged along the perimeter of the floors, rotating along to each level, like canal locks. Timed to reach the lower level loading docks at the harvest stage. On the interior of the floors, elevated planters (for easy access), for the root crops like potatoes. carrots, onions, and etc.
For the large areas of ground level concrete parking lots, leave as they are but, pattern cut large circular holes through to the earth and plant fruit trees. Or rectangular cut aways for large plants like corn or vine grown vegetables like peas, beans, cucumbers, and etc. Leaving concrete pathways between would assure weed control, easy crop maintenance, access for electric vehicles, and water collection systems. Add a canopy of solar panels over these pathways to not only generate electricity, but to keep the pathways cool. Better for the soil, for water retention, and more comfortable for the workers.
The entire project could be totally self sustainable, or darn near it.
Projects like this could easily turn the tables on the plague of urban blight that has hit every major city on this planet. Creating jobs, eliminating homelessness, and hunger. Restoring neighborhoods to their intended glory. Not to mention more appealing to the eye!
So, what do you think folks? This is just my idea, I thought I would throw out to you. Help me out and add to it,….anybody?….anybody?
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