Architect: Vertical farm in San Diego would revolutionize U.S. produce consumption
A young architect hopes a developer will decide to build his 23-acre farm in the center of San Diego. Unlike most farms, this one would reach 500 feet into the sky.
Brandon Martella, 24, graduated from the New School of Architecture and Design last year and quickly finished his plans for the Live Share Grow tower. He told KPBS San Diego on Tuesday that his vertical farm was an attempt to revolutionize the industry, placing consumers closer to their food.
Half of the tower would contain residential units while the other half would contain growing space. Martella estimated that his farm could produce 500,000 thousand pounds of food every three months. The farm doesn’t require pesticides and could reuse the residents’ excrement as fertilizer, making environmentally friendly.
“The system I would want to use is to reclaim the grey water from the residential,” he explained. “That would actually feed into the building, be pumped to the top, through a series of aerobic reactions and charcoal filters the water would be cleansed, and that would feed the plants.”
Sherry Ryan, a city planning professor at San Diego State University, told KPBS San Diego that the vertical farm was a “phenomenal idea,” but worried the huge structure would dominate the city’s skyline.
The shrinking amounts of farmland and concerns over climate change have spurred architects into designing vertical farms. Proponents of the urban farms have said the tall greenhouses could cut down on pollution caused by shipping food. The vertical greenhouses also eliminate the need for pesticides and protect crops from adverse weather.
Environmentalists in Chicago recently converted an abandoned pork processing plant into a “no-waste” vertical farm called The Plant.
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