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The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century
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The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  254 ratings  ·  62 reviews
"The vertical farm is a world-changing innovation whose time has come. Dickson Despommier’s visionary book provides a blueprint for securing the world’s food supply and at the same time solving one of the gravest environmental crises facing us today."--StingImagine a world where every town has their own local food source, grown in the safest way possible, where no drop of ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Thomas Dunne Books
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Rachel Bayles
Interesting overview of the idea. One or two really outstanding facts, but in general the writing could be tighter. It's still worth reading, but it's more like reading an extended Wired article than a book.
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An extremely enthusiastic author (you can see why he would make an excellent teacher) speaking at length on a fascinating topic. So it's not surprisingly (if a little disappointing) that the incredibly optimistic, glowing report of vertical farming in this book make the results and conclusions a little hard to swallow.

Maybe the author believes that most people won't read the book cover to cover, because he repeats himself frequently, using the same examples or nifty facts in several parts of the
This book had some really interesting ideas but needed a little more focus. The author started out with the city as a ecosystem idea, which is interesting, but I'm not sure why he kept bringing up burning human waste. It has nothing to do with the vertical farm and he admits that it sends up a little pollution.

The author obviously feel very strongly for the vertical farm but let's be realistic. I doubt a couple of vertical farms would end the conflict in the middle east. Also, the idea of return
Not bad at all. The author lists the benefits and they are many but neglects the pitfalls. High startup costs and the social dislocation as farmers go broke and the banks that lent them the money for their land go under etc. Also he would have made a better case in 2011 by stating more of the benefits than the enviornmental ones. Making food safe from terrorism and disease should have been emphasized more. Best book yet on the subject.
The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century suggests a solution for urban agriculture that is sustainable and practical. Currently, there is a need for new farming methods in an unpredictable climatic world. Present farming practices can be devastating to the environment-consider agrochemical runoff (responsible for more ecosystem disruption than any other single kind of pollution), deforestation, fossil fuels (more than 20% of all burned fuels is contributed to farming), and clean ...more
The vertical farm is a bold idea that I hope takes off during our lifetimes. To me, the benefits are (view spoiler) ...more
Gotta be good, blurb from Sting :9
I wonder what Wendell Berry would think about this one.

UpDate. And I still wonder what he would think about this one because all of Berry's thought is based on the care of humans of the land. Despommier wants to remove the land from farming and replace it with five story buildings full of hydroponic agriculture beds. The ideas in the book are intriguing and may be the solution to some very intractable environmental and agricultural problems. The entire book is completely hypothetical as not one
There is no doubt that Despommier is a trailblazer. While he's not the first to come up with the stacking greenhouse concept, he's the first to further the thought experiment in the modern age when we have better solutions for things like water recovery, waste management, civil engineering, sky scrapers, plastics, etc.
However, I was expecting more science and less emotion going into this book. The first 150 pages are supposed to convince you that the vertical farm idea is necessary. The last 75
I picked this book up before starting work on a vertical growing system. It was a fairly interesting read and a good introduction to newcomers of the many challenges faced by those working within agriculture.

However, it stays more towards the social science side of things, with little in the way of hard evidence of the genuine possibilities (other than Despommier's own ideas) and application of vertical farming; prototype vertical farms are mentioned, but with 'prototype' being the key word.
This book surprised me - I was prepared for a slog through details in the economics of farming, global trade or some such thing, but it's a lively summary of the history of agriculture and how we got to where we are now - having stripped the world of much of its natural resources and so that we can eat tomatoes in December. We started farming 10,000 years ago or so, Neanderthals didn't do it - and so why did we? Find out how agriculture played into - among other things - the evolution of writing ...more
The idea of a vertical farm is a great idea for urban agriculture. Basically, vertical farms are buildings which house green houses and create a close system, using waste water and such to grow food for city dwellers.

Unfortunately, the idea of a vertical farm is still in the planning stage and there hasn't been one created yet.

The author of this book is a prof, and this really comes across. I enjoyed some of the ideas in this book and it's obvious that the prof knows a lot about ecology and des
Carolyn  Holland
I applaud Dr. Despommier for the insight-fulness of this book ! I believe that it can and should be considered an invaluable starting point for solutions for our food security issues.
There has been a lot of scrutiny over this concept, particularly in regard to start-up and operational costs however, as with any great idea, there are challenges.
I found this book to be inspiring, it offers me some hope for the future of my family, the generations who will be here long after I am gone, the memb
Mjlibrary NDSCS
Cataloging in process
It is a scary thought that most big cities have a food supply of fewer than 2 days in the event of disasters which prevent the delivery of fresh food to the grocery shelves. Large cities cannot grow their own as they are set up at present. Despommier is a Columbia University professor who decided to see what could be done to develop urban agriculture. Basically the idea is to grow food in tall buildings using the sciences of hydroponics, aeroponics, engineering, and more. Ma
The current method of human agriculture is in bad shape, and is ultimately unsustainable. This book provides an alternative.

Agriculture as we know it has worked for many thousands of years, but the system is breaking down. If there is such a thing as The Chronicle of Farm Life in the 20th Century, it is "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck. Three things that had a huge impact on agriculture were the internal combustion engine, and the discoveries of oil and dynamite. When irrigating fields, r
Brendan N.
Despommier is full of potentially world-changing ideas, but those ideas are incredibly embryonic. This is an important book, just not terribly well-written or organized. Despommier spends half his time delving into the history of agriculture before finally discussing the various components of the vertical farm. Granted, the former is quite relevant to the latter, but "The Vertical Farm" could have benefited from more editing and concision. Despite its flaws, "The Vertical Farm" is at varying tim ...more
Alvin C.
It's a fantastic idea to use buildings in every town to grow smaller vegs such as lettuce and beans indoors using 90% less water, controlling insects, needing no pesticides, OR shipping across the country. Then we can plant trees again in areas formerly farmed, and scrub CO2 out of the air. The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century will tell you how and why!
Books like this get me really excited until after I finish them, my enthusiasm fades realizing how unlikely we are to actually carry out such a great idea. Curse reality, it has a way of spoiling all the fun of dreaming. Because that is what this book is, a dream, a visionary solution to several of the global communities pressing problems, especially agriculture.

The author lays out a sound argument in favor of these essentially urban-greenhouse-skyscrapers. I doubt any one will actually disagre
Wade Johannes
While I appreciate the concept, the author's understanding of farming comes from textbooks and The Grapes of Wrath. The theory has merit, but the author is close to unbearable. Next time I suggest that the author steps foot on a real life farm before commenting on the state of the industry.
Sarah Hoffman
This book is based on a very interesting and important concept but it is presented with poor writing, poor academic integrity, and a lot of personal pondering.
This was not what I expected and that has effected the number of stars I give it. The author presents an interesting idea and supports his reasonings well. I had hoped for a little more on the logistics.
If I could have, I'd have given this 3.5 stars. While the subject is fascinating and the writing very accessible, the book often feels very repetitive. That said, it provided a succinct and effective overview of the history of agriculture and a thoughtful discussion of the "unnaturalness" of farming. It's hard not to be persuaded that some, if not all, of Despommier's ideas about moving sustainable agricultural practices to urban centers are both logical and viable. Since I'm still fairly new to ...more
The human race currently farms an area of land the size of South America (this doesn't include grazing areas). By the year 2050, it is estimated we will need an additional land mass the size of Brazil to feed the world's nations. This land does not exist.

Enter: The Vertical Farm. Professor Despommier and his grad students of the last decade believe they have a solution, and this easy-to-read book explains it all in language the lay-person can understand.

Interesting read.
I think I'll write a l
Will Fuqua
Maybe if you talked about how vertical farms would work in more specificity than "put farms in buildings" this book wouldn't be pointless.
Lieschen Quilling
Very interesting theory and background but felt repetitive and preachy at times.
Kim Birum
Interesting concept. Wonder wheat the future will bring.
Insights into the future of agriculture
This is a fairly bold book, given that there isn't a vertical farm in existence yet (there are a number in the works). It reads a bit like a cheerleading book, but it does admit some of the problems with the idea.

The book doesn't dwell as much on the economics of the idea as I would like, but that's probably extremely tough to do given the lack of a specific example to break down.

Overall, I would recommend the book to anyone remotely interested in cities, the environment or what the future of fo
Jason Landsborough
A smarter, more efficient take on agriculture: feeding more people using less.

I expected this to just be equivalent to taking indoor growing and scaling it up, but the author presents a concept based on that of an ecosystem where waste is reused as part of the system.

Although some examples were given in the following areas, I would have preferred more: what is being done on a smaller scale, commercial systems, how big or how many buildings would be needed to feed a population the size of x.
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Dr. Dickson D. Despommier is a professor of Public Health and Microbiolgy at Columbia University (NY).
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