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Fälth, Erik, 2011. The vertical farm : varför har idén uppkommit och hur är den tänkt att fungera?. First cycle, G2E. Alnarp: SLU, Landscape Architecture (until 121231)



By immersion in the situation of the food production today and a historical study of how past development has led us to this point, one goal of this essay is to discuss whether the current way of farming can be applied in a sustainable future. Another objective of the essay is to study the vision Vertical farming as an alternative approach, and to focus on different aspects of this phenomenon in order to provide as comprehensive a picture as possible.
The paper, thus, seeks to broaden the views for alternative approaches regarding a well-established method which we often take for granted. The aim is also to initiate a discussion around the need to also take radical ideas in regard if we want to face the future in a sustainable manner.

The method is a qualitative literary study where scientific articles and papers have been used to discuss the issues: why has the idea of Vertical farming arisen, what is Vertical farming and how is the Vertical Farm meant to operate? Does Vertical farming have a place in the sustainable city of the future?

For a long time us humans lived as one with nature, in a symbiotic relationship in which we gave and took as a functioning part of an ecosystem.
When we invented agriculture and became permanent residents, it was the start of civilization and humans began to increase in number, which has demanded more and more land area for cultivation.
Today we incubate the majority of the arable land available on the planet and the population continues to increase at an accelerating rate.
Agriculture's impact on the environment is vast. Loss of natural ecosystems through deforestation is one example. The destruction of rivers and marine ecosystems through eutrophication is another. The implications are obvious even to man when a billion people today are without safe drinking water. The scientific community warns that the long-term consequences are worse, both for man and environment.

One vision that claims to be able to turn these dark prospects is Vertical farming, which simplified means that instead of spreading patches of farm land over the globe like the approach today, there is the option to stack them upon each other. This will be enabled through the construction of extensive greenhouses in urban areas.
The main policy of the idea is "Do No Harm" (Despommier, 2009) and the goal of the vision is to provide a sustainable way to feed a growing population in the future.
The innovation is supposed to lead to the minimization of food shipments worldwide, an end to deforestation and an opportunity for current farm land to return to its natural character as forest or grassland, with the carbon sequestering ecosystem services they provide.
New technology will streamline the cultivation to maximum yield per area unit. The Vertical Farm will supply the city's population with the necessary nourishment and at the same time, as an integrated system in the sustainable city, incorporate both water and waste management.
A survey of Vertical farming in terms of sustainability has shown many strong arguments for the vision but also many difficulties and questions that need to be straightened out for a possible realization of the vision. A key for the Vertical Farm to succeed is the need to get as close to energy-neutral as possible. Technological breakthroughs in waste management, sanitation and lighting are essential for a bright future for the vision. An explicit economic and social plan is also essential for a possible deployment.
The symbolic value of the Vertical Farm may prove to be precious at a time when more and more people realize the need for a new green revolution.

Main title:The vertical farm
Subtitle:varför har idén uppkommit och hur är den tänkt att fungera?
Authors:Fälth, Erik
Supervisor:Larsson, Marie
Examiner:Gunnarsson, Allan
Series:Självständigt arbete vid LTJ-fakulteten, SLU
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2011
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:LY002 Landscape Architecture Programme, Alnarp 300 HEC
Supervising department:(LTJ, LTV) > Landscape Architecture (until 121231)
Keywords:vertikal odling, jordbruk, matproduktion, urban odling, hydroponisk, vertical farm, farming, Despommier, klimatförändring, hållbarhet
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Farm layout
Nature conservation and land resources
Deposited On:07 Jun 2011 09:36
Metadata Last Modified:20 Apr 2012 14:20

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