Urban Farming (not just plants on the veranda)

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http://money.cnn.com/2010/12/23/technology/urban_farming_high_tech/index.htm

Forget the conventional wisdom that says veggies must be grown on vast farms in the Midwest. What if commercial-scale crops took root inside cavernous city warehouses, without sunlight or soil?

Call it urban farming 2.0. Over the past decade, city agriculture has largely been the province of non-profit organizations, school groups, renegade gardeners and restaurants sowing seeds on rooftops. But the newest breed of city farmers are businessfolk. In their hands, urban agriculture is scaling up to meet a rising demand in city centers for safe, organic and locally grown food.

Now, I am a fan of agriculture, entrepreneurs and healthy foods, I’m thinking though that this is not the best idea. On the outside, it looks brilliant, much of the worlds population is in urban centers, so why not grow the food where they are, cuts shipping costs, could encourage ‘healthy’ eating as opposed to processed foods which are often cheaper etc. So overall, it looks like a great idea.

As you read into it though, they want to use LED lighting (is it full spectrum, I suppose it has to be? Is it missing anything the sun is giving?). ¬†And recirculated water, sounds good, is that the best way to use it? Does it have any less or any more nutrients than the earths circulation system? I’m all for the idea of farming on roof tops, natural sun, rain and wind but it seems like growing plants i warehouses is either lacking something or asking for some kind of trouble – be it due to mold, a less nutrient rich plant, or further GM engineering to grow in those situations.

Anything done in a factory setup has the potential to make the product less healthy for you. Hoping they cross all their Ts and dot all their Is on this one. It does have a great potential to feed those who would otherwise be miles away from any real produce, just hope we’re not shooting ourselves in the foot.

Thankfully we live in PEI which is still very agricultural, not much ‘urban-ness’ yet, even in Ch’town since the country is so close.

Closing statement: When we think we can do things better than nature can, too often we find out years later that nature is stil the better way all around. Methinks we’ll discover that again with this project.

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