The Pyramid Farm is an incredible concept for the future of agriculture envisioned by professors Eric Ellingsen and Dickson Despommier. The design is based on the growing belief (is it fact yet?) that vertical farming will soon become a necessary lifeline in cities throughout the world. The human population is growing exponentially and increasingly more urban while the global food supply is decreasing. Despommier speculates that if nothing is done to advance current farming techniques, 3 billion people could face starvation by 2060. The Pyramid Farm offers a solution in the form of a complete self-sufficient ecosystem that covers everything from food production to waste management.

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The Vertical Farm Project, grown out of one of Despommier’s class projects at Columbia University, features urban farming concepts and resources in hopes of securing the world’s food supply by design. His vertical farms are intended to be complete ecosystems, capable of producing even fish and poultry while reusing internal waste. The Pyramid Farm, among others, would include a heating and pressurization system separating sewage into water and carbon to fuel machinery and lighting. He estimates that the greenhouses can be made to use only 10 percent of the water and five percent of the land needed by farm fields.

Beyond creating a sustainable and local source for food, Despommier envisions a healing process for today’s horizontal farms. Native plant life will be replaced and allowed to grow wild and replenish the depleted soil for future generations. For more information, listen to Despommier’s vertical farming podcast from the Earth Sky network.

+ The Vertical Farm Project