Downtown Tokyo ‘Office Farm’ Takes Green Building to New HeightsJuly 31st, 2013 by Sophie Feng Ripe tomatoes hang from conference room ceilings, rice paddies grow waist-high in the lobby, and a living facade of flowers and orange trees covers the expanse of the building’s exterior. There’s no shortage of agricultural variety around the Pasona office building, located in downtown Tokyo, Japan. In total, over 200 species of fruits, vegetables, and rice live within Pasona, including lemons, broccoli, salad greens, berries, squash, eggplant, and passion fruit. Over 43,000 square feet of space is dedicated to the vegetation, and together with the automatic irrigation system and HEFL, fluorescent, and LED lighting, this office space is essentially a complete indoor ecosystem. Since launching its agriculture project with its basement farm over eight years ago, Pasona — a renowned temporary staffing and recruiting agency — has fully commited to the advancement of urban agriculture by providing community workshops that train younger generations of urban farmers. Pasona intially embarked on the project with the intention of creating jobs in the agricultural sector. But given its use of the latest hydroponic, lighting, and soil technologies, the company has emerged as an urban agriculture pioneer in Tokyo. While visitors are free to enter the lobby and see the farm for themselves, the employees actually contribute directly to the farm-to-office-table initiative; they work with a managing team to maintain, harvest, and prepare the produce for the on-site cafeteria. The resulting meals are fresh in quality, and the direct exposure to the seed-to-fruit process raises office- and community-wide awareness of food supply demands. As with all innovative projects, this indoor farm isn’t free of faults. The energy used to power the lighting may not be the most efficient compared to conventional farming methods, and some may find the sterile environment unsettling and abnormal. Rather than regard its indoor farm as a perfect prototype, however, Pasona sees it as an experiment, the lessons from which will almost certainly inform new and improved urban agriculture ventures in the years to come.
Vertical FarmingWritten by lorne, July 29, 2013 Building for the future is all about sustainability. Living habitats that blend nature with technology to make the best use of space in a way that is beneficial to all life on Earth. The way we go about doing that is by following the three E’s. Environment, Economy, and Energy. There are many solutions, but none handle all three quite like vertical farming.
About Vertical FarmingVertical farming is not a new idea, just a technique that was long forgotten. The phrase was first coined in Gilbert Bailey’s 1915 book titled “Vertical Farming.” In the book he describes how farmers could go down into the Earth to maximize their farming area, opposed to expanding outwards. This was to address the issue of running out of space due to increasing populations. Today’s version is the same concept, only instead of going down you go up. Answering the Three E’s (or the triple bottom line) Vertical farm buildings answers a wide variety of problems that farmers deal with on a daily basis including pests, disease, irrigation, cost, and weather. Not only does it lower cost and make food more available to everyone, but it helps us save space for wildlife.
EnergyPlants such as corn, which are used to make bio-fuels could be grown in every town, diminishing our dependency on oil. The fruit of these plants gives us food, while the waste is turned into usable energy.
EconomyBringing the food source closer to where people live lowers costs, and lets people have more spending money, thus more businesses have customers.
EnvironmentThe home of millions of animals and other creatures benefit from this space saver. Also a little green in the city would also help filter toxins out of the air. And of course with all those trucks hauling our grocery goods off the road, we can all breathe much easier. Types of Vertical Farming: There are many ways vertical farms can be made, from small home gardens to industrial sized farming. Just search the web for “Vertical Farming Systems,” and you will find many companies selling vertical garden kits for your yard and your house. Ed Harwood’s “AeroFarm” aeroponic system is a great example. Additionally there are kits to grow plants along the exterior walls of your home or any other building. These mini vertical farms are great for growing herbs and vegetables used in cooking. aerofarm: Another form of vertical farming, which has just begun to be implemented is skyscraper farms. Potentially an 18 story tower could feed about 50,000 people, and take up much less land. Think of it as a giant green house. Add in an automated irrigation, fertilizing, and lighting system powered by wind and sunlight, and you have got a reliably self sustaining source of food and energy. Could you imagine getting your fruits and veggies from down the street, instead of trucked for days across country. Now that is fresh. Good bye high gas prices, and hello vacation with family. More jobs are created, and gas guzzling heavy farm equipment sits in museums as reminders of our filthy past. The air you breathe is cleaner, the food you eat is safer, and your overall way of life is improved thanks to green building like the vertical farms right in your neighborhood.
Farming MultiplexesBy: N A Ramachandra Pai on Jul 24, 2013 By 2050, the world’s population will have increased by 3 billion people, requiring an additional chunk of arable land the size of Brazil in order to grow enough food. Add to that the potential loss of coastal property from rising sea levels, crop loss from drastic weather related incidents, and the need to reforest large swaths of land to sequester CO2. What we’re left with is a global mess that could be helped by a new agricultural technique – vertical farming. Located in an urban setting, the vertical farm is a win-win idea that automates the production of food in a more sustainable manner, by reducing waste, pollution and carbon emissions. By the time 2050 rolls around, 80% of the world’s population will dwell in an urban setting. With more and more people focused on healthy, organic food bought locally, the demand is even greater to bring food production closer to the city. Vertical farms are not meant to eliminate traditional rural farming, but merely to reduce the strain put on the land and allow some of it to return to nature and forest. For every indoor acre farmed, 10 to 20 outdoor acres of farmland could return to their natural ecological state, which in most cases is hardwood forest. Local and urban vertical farms have many eco-benefits for both the surrounding region and the planet. Vertical farms will rely solely on hydroponic organic farming techniques, which means no pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and no pollution injected into waterways. Vertical farms will be highly efficient and densely built, eliminating heavy machinery and farming equipment responsible for a significant amount of agricultural emissions. Water for irrigation will likely come from treated rainwater, grey or backwater and water use can be significantly reduced by recycling water and through the efficient use and reuse of water inside the farm. Located in the city center, shipping and its associated environmental impact will be practically eliminated. Crops themselves will be monitored closely and provided with the exact growing conditions necessary to each species, thereby improving yields. Indoor controlled growth eliminates crop loss due to weather and natural disasters such as flood, drought or hurricanes. On top of that, a boom of urban, green-tech jobs will become available for growers, researchers, technicians, vendors and more. In order to create such a high tech growing machine, a number of sustainable technologies will be integrated into one building. All of these technologies are currently available, but not all have been combined into one site yet. Gray and blackwater, along with rainwater will be treated for irrigation use, which will be combined with water recovery systems to collect unused water for use in aeroponic and hydroponic growing. Environmental conditions will be tightly controlled for each crop, maximizing growth, while minimizing the use of water and nutrients. Waste from plants will be either composted for fertilizer or will be combined with animal waste and used as a fuel within the building. energy will be generated from renewable resources like the sun and wind, while energy efficient building technologies will minimize energy needs. Ideally the building could create more energy than it needs and feed the excess back onto the grid. Crop production would become a year round activity and makes one acre of indoor growing area equivalent to 4-6 outdoor acres or more. Inside the farm will grow and care for all sorts of edibles, like vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, poultry, fish, pigs. A leading researcher on vertical farms, Dickson Despommier from Columbia University, estimates one vertical farm is enough to feed 50,000 people. While some may argue that treating the farm like an industrialized factory is moving too far away from nature, the concept has too many benefits to be ignored. Both people and the planet would benefit by such treatment of agriculture and location of some farms in closer proximity to the city centers. Vertical farms could never replace traditional agriculture, but it would certainly take the pressure off the arable land to produce all the food we will need and hopefully eliminate the need to resort to genetically modified crops, strife over water, or food shortages.
Vertical Farming: Cornfields Are behind the Third Door on the Left
JAPA Architects shared with us their proposal, Dyv-net, Dynamic Vertical Networks, which deals with the development of modern, efficient and environmentally acceptable farming structures. Located in the Tai Po District, the second largest administrative district in Hong Kong, the architects foresee a paradigm shift to vertical agriculture structures which can be integrated into a territorial network along the country. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Strategic rethink of the Asian City: China’s limited space for farmingSince 2000, China’s cities have expanded at an average rate of 10% annually. Although China’s agricultural output is the largest in the world, only about 15% of its total land area can be cultivated. China’s arable land, which represents 10% of the total arable land in the world, supports over 20% of the world’s population. Of this approximately 1.4 million square kilometers of arable land, only about 1.2% (116,580 square kilometers) permanently supports crops and 525,800 square kilometers are irrigated.The land is divided into approximately 200 million households, with an average land allocation of just 0.65 hectares (1.6 acres). China’s limited space for farming has been a problem throughout its history, leading to chronic food shortage. While the production efficiency of farmland has grown over time, efforts to expand to the west and the north have held limited success, as such land is generally colder and drier than traditional farmlands to the east. Since the 1950s, farm space has also been pressured by the increasing land needs of industry and cities. With an area of some 14,800 hectares in the northeast New Territories, it’s proximity to the high-rise developments of the Kowloon-Hong Kong area is a positive aspect to propose a low food mileage production infrastructure which can fed the city population (close to the urban centers). Inspired by the traditional China’s rice farming agriculture amazing shifting terraces and by the earlier agricultural hardware which shows a tensile use of materials to produce structures which are resistant and at the same time can be light, our proposal emphasizes the use of shifting floor plates and light structural systems which incorporates recycled metallic material.The 187.50 meters structures will attract locals & international visitors and become new places for education and agricultural research.
Project features:- Vertical structures which provide food,save land and at the same time act as a biodiversity magnet - Paradigm shift: create more agricultural land by building upwards / No soil erosion, now Food will be grown hydroponically in a series of vertical process-connected structures - 360 degree viewing platforms and new spaces research on farming techniques - Close-by Industry: processing healthy food& create work places - Opportunity to use towers to install laboratories and research hubs Architects: JAPA Architects Location: Tai Po District, Hong Kong, China Award: Citation in the FuturArc Prize 2013 Year: 2013 Photographs: Courtesy of JAPA Architects
Vertical FarmingJuly 10, 2013
With insights into vertical gardening, it is easy to see how this ‘new way’ of gardening is catching on for both home and commercial gardeners. And as many urban cities and areas today are short on space, farming has also gone vertical, giving rise to the term ‘vertical farming’ that is being described as a new ‘way of the future’ for farming. In this post, we give you a little insight into commercial vertical farming in cities that can help to solve our agricultural problems.
Vertical farming in cities?Much like the way you can vertically farm your own fruit, herbs and vegetables be it through frames set up in your garden or little pots hanging off your fence/wall, vertical farming can help us alleviate some of our agricultural problems. A recommended way is to have a vertical farm in the city that employs large-scale aeroponics and hydroponics that allows production of food crops that does not further damage the environment and frees up farmland to allow it to return to its former ecological setting.
Some Main Advantages of Vertical Farming
- Less environmental destruction
- Year-round crop production
- Higher productivity
- Low energy & water usage
Important elements of a vertical farmWhen it comes to the design of a vertical farm, there are four important, major elements that designers and engineers must include:
- Capturing sunlight and dispersing it evenly among the crops
- Capturing passive energy for supplying a reliable source of electricity
- Good barrier design for plant protection
- Maximising space