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The Vertical Farm: agriculture for the 21st century and beyond

Dickson D. Despommier, Thursday, October 22, 2009

4:30pm, Porter Hall 100 (Gregg Hall)

Despommier photo

Farming is failing at an alarming rate in many areas of the world that can least afford it. South Asia, Africa and China are a few of those places. Climate change issues and the lack of modern agricultural methods are the main reasons. Severe weather events (droughts, floods) account for most of the loss and plant diseases take advantage of weakened crops. The solution is indoor agriculture – so called Vertical Farming. It offers solutions that would overcome most of the problems that cause crop losses and offer the possibility of creating a sustainable eco-city. Development will require no new technologies, only systems integration, taking lessons from high tech greenhouses that are already in operation. In doing so, a new urban-based agricultural revolution could well be on its way to solve the world’s food crisis.
Dickson D. Despommier was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and grew up in California before moving to the New York area, where he now lives and works. He was trained as a microbiologist and has always been interested in the environment. At present, Dr. Despommier is  engaged in a project whose mission is to produce significant amounts of food crops in tall buildings situated in densely populated urban centers (Vertical Farming; see <> ). This initiative has grown in acceptance over the last few years to the point of stimulating planners and developers around the world to incorporate them into their vision for the future city. It is highly likely that some form of the vertical farm will soon become part of the skyline of the built environment.  
Professor Despommier received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from Farleigh Dickinson University, his Master of Science in Medical Parasitology from Columbia University and his Ph.D. in Biology and Cell Biology from the University of Notre Dame and Rockefeller University, respectively.


Despommier poster