GaryD

Farms of the Future

47 posts in this topic

Hi,

I was leapfrogging around YouTube and I came across this presentation.....

I then chased the name Despommier and vertical farming around......and happened upon......

.

My interest in 'vertical farming' is probably more geared to the backyard level but I love the idea of stacking elements......and integration of agriculture and architecture .....the integration of dwellings and food production systems.

Anybody else get excited by these sorts of things?

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've seen a lot of these on Inhabitat.com and thought they were a bit silly since if everyone used land/water to grow food instead of grass; and designed buildings so then instead of a roof there was a greenhouse on top then we would save tons of space and cut down on farm land. Also he talked about problem of feeding ever increasing population of the earth - 7 billion right now; with 1 billion starving to death. The vertical farm would have zero effect on those people and zero effect on the area of which the population is actually growing. In most western countries the population from births is actually declining.

It would be interesting however to compare how much energy that building consumes/takes to build compared to a farm that makes an equal amount of food and shipping food.

Backyard system with vertical farming on a smaller scale would be pretty cool though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Dia,

In most western countries the population from births is actually declining.

That's an interesting fact that many doomsday prophets seem to gloss over.

Backyard system with vertical farming on a smaller scale would be pretty cool though.

Vertical farming (say up to three or four tiers) for backyard purposes is a great idea.

The price of urban land is such that vertical farming is a no-brainer for small-scale food production. Greenhouses are relatively lightweight structures so having them mounted on top of another level (or two) is a great idea.

Stacking of elements is a key Permaculture principle and it also features in some of my Microponics designs.

ecosystem......I looked at the 3MF site. Interesting, but certainly out of my league. Some of the ideas illustrated on the site.....like insect flour.....evidence some out-of-the-box thinking.

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gary - yes insect flour is a bit out there - but at least they are acknowledging that the methods to get us where we are today, are not going to support a larger population. At some point we will have to deal with the unpleasant subject of population growth, or nature will take care of it for us in a possibly more dramatic fashion. Have you taken a Permaculture Design Certificate course? Or read the original text? I'm a huge fan of Permaculture, and wish it was part of school curriculum. It teaches systems thinking, instead of the usual small scope of how we look at things. And you can look at any scale from your home all the way up to human settlement patterns and beyond. There are 27 principles, and stacking elements is only one of them! I'm really interested to find out at what point the stacking inhibits the growth due to less light reaching the plant. Do you know of anybody that has studied that? I know that there can be a lot of diffuse light in a greenhouse, but at some density it obviously isn't feasible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi ecosystem,

Gary - yes insect flour is a bit out there

My initial thought was that it was unusual but then I remembered that the culinary cultures of many countries include the consumption of various types of insects......and insect flour would just make their consumption a bit easier for the less adventurous diner.....and it would make their use for general cooking purposes a lot easier.

Have you taken a Permaculture Design Certificate course? Or read the original text? I'm a huge fan of Permaculture, and wish it was part of school curriculum. It teaches systems thinking, instead of the usual small scope of how we look at things. And you can look at any scale from your home all the way up to human settlement patterns and beyond. There are 27 principles, and stacking elements is only one of them!

I haven't done the PDC course.....but I do have a copy of just about everything that Mollison and/or Holmgren (and a variety of other Permaculture writers) have produced.

Obviously, Permaculture has influenced my thinking to a marked extent when it comes to Microponics system design......as it has all other backyard food production advocates.

Like you, I think it should be part of the school curriculum......particularly when you consider all of the other less useful things that kids are taught.

I'm really interested to find out at what point the stacking inhibits the growth due to less light reaching the plant. Do you know of anybody that has studied that? I know that there can be a lot of diffuse light in a greenhouse, but at some density it obviously isn't feasible.

When I think of stacking elements, it's not necessarily just plants that I'm talking about. It might be fish tanks (or other very heavy elements) on the bottom......with micro-livestock housing above the fish tanks......and with a growing system above that.

It's not inconceivable that you could have as many as five or six such integrations in a structure that is the height of a shipping container (9.5'), for example. Imagine the amount of food that could come out of a 40' container that featured a system that integrated fish, worms, quail, rabbits, chickens vegetables and herbs

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Gary-

It's not inconceivable that you could have as many as five or six such integrations in a structure that is the height of a shipping container (9.5'), for example. Imagine the amount of food that could come out of a 40' container that featured a system that integrated fish, worms, quail, rabbits, chickens vegetables and herbs

Now you are talking - and if the feed was coming from various local "waste" aka "resource" streams you'd really be onto something - that's the direction I'm trying to take. Are you thinking of artificial lighting or would your container have access to sunlight?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi ecosystem,

While I'm in love with shipping containers, the container idea is purely theoretical at this stage.

You could grow plants on top of the container......in the open or a greenhouse fabricated for the purpose. You could also build a sun-facing greenhouse along one side of the container.

If you had to grow inside of the container, you could use HPS or metal halide lights which not only produce a lot of light but heat also. In a cold climate, the heat would be valuable for moderating the temperature inside the container for the other fish, plants and animals that live in there, too.

You can build similar integrations on a much smaller scale, too. In fact, it's the true backyard-scale that most encourages a tiered approach to food production.....because of the restraints of space, cost of land, climatic conditions, etc.

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hm I remember watching a documentary ( I believe ) and in Africa there was a lake with huge swarms of flies and they use wet pans to collect the flies. They then bunch the flies up into patties and cook them like hamburgers. Thought it was pretty cool; and the host said they tasted excellent.

Interesting fact: "Nearly 80 percent of the world's population relies on bugs for food"

I like the shipping container idea though; could cut one into a L shape and make a lean to greenhouse and stack that above another shipping container with fish/live stock in it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

wow it amazes me where a bit of lateral thinking can and does lead the idea of using shiping containers as a food production unit is very interesting as in some countries there is a surplus of unused containers to the point that some countries are turning them into housing for low economic areas instead of building new homes...

Drew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Drew,

Shipping containers are almost too good to be used for shipping. They are certainly a scary proposition when you encounter them floating around the sea. Container ships periodically drop them over the side in heavy weather and they float (often just below the surface) presenting a real hazard to other mariners.

I've been fascinated with them for years......and I'll stop to look at them whenever I see them converted to housing or offices.

Dia.....you're inching me closer to trying a bug for food. Many cultures eat things like locusts so it might be a possibility. I just have to do it when Jan is not around......she already thinks that I'm really the devil on recreation leave.

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently read of someone in NY city that was making swimming pools out of shipping containers, all i could think was what a great fishtank that would be.. with another cut in half for growbeds!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was thinking that too until I looked at the price for one; $2650 for a 40 foot long which still has to be made water safe, and have some "editing" done to it. They also rust pretty quickly too if not taken care of so sticking them half underground would be questionable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

At over 80,000 litres it would be one big fish tank. I think that they're best used for habitats for people and animals.....or workshops......or small offices/workrooms.

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While doing research on tanks before building my concrete tank, I found a Liner that is made to fit in Large Trash Dumpsters, to turn them into fish tanks, swimming pools, etc........ and if all the fish die, you call the Trash Haulers to come and take the dumpster to the dump.......

For a large operation 4-5 dumpsters would work great, 1 for the FT, and the others 1/4 to 1/3 filled with GB media, and maybe one sat at a lower level for the sump........

Edited by RS_ (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

sounds interesting. i love the idea of stacking. the earth is stacked, why shouldn't our farms. in comparison you have monoculture which is completely 1 dimension. nothing alive below or above.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Woodland River,

i love the idea of stacking. the earth is stacked, why shouldn't our farms. in comparison you have monoculture which is completely 1 dimension. nothing alive below or above.

I agree completely. Stacking of elements is a key principle of Permaculture and is particularly relevant to backyard food production.

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My list of projects and piles of surplus I have plastic house siding molding strips J mold, inside corners, siding Etc.

I have been saving it for a while with thoughts of a living wall. trickle down theory or flood and drain. I have seen gutters used with little success and think the grow "bed" may have to be on maybe a 40 degree angle to work efficiently. If a person follows gravity and mounts siding on a sheet of plywood it could be designed with out the wood ever getting wet like it being on a house and the house staying dry. Sizing the beds is were I am at now and soon I would like to try a sample grow bed.

Siding has many pre-drilled holes and I was thinking of many zip ties to whip up grow beds. cheap and adjustable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As for me I try to stay focused on one project at a time. Complete it and go on to the next. 40 degree angle on a growbed will never work, growbeds have to be perfectly level to work correctly if they are even a little out of plumb they well not work correctly. Even thought we try to create our own little piece of nature by building our own Ecosystem, The laws of nature apply to us and that we are working on a very small scale compared to the planet we have to be more accurate.

Adjustable Growbeds is an interesting idea, But I think it may end up like trying build an adjustable bath tube. Either one would be nice to have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This could work as a constant flow bed using hydroton media. It wicks moisture. The wood lid with the holes would need to be sealed as water will touch it via wicking and evaporation. You would need to be able to lower it level for maintenance.

This could also be done with a few narrow 1 plant deep beds. They could be arranged like steps trickling down into the next level. 8 inches deep, 10 inches tall, and 4-8 feet wide. 5 or 6 of them. This would not save you any room but you could try to work it so that your Fish tank and filters were covered from the sun with them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The grow beds are very level the font is 40 degrees like for example a solar collector. I am building a green house from used windows and doors. I only have so much time before I return to school. I have eleven projects all going at the same time but all the scrap has to be used or gone from my yard soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The back wall of my green house behind my grow beds I was hoping to save space and fill one wall with live plants and use a lot of plastic up! grow beds are heavy and take up a lot of space stacking them has not worked out for me without serious strutural work but I am constantly rebuilding this little room!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now