Another way to design for food production

True innovation is forward thinking, adapting and making it work and challenging the status quo. Innovation involving food production is more than changing land use practices. A couple of examples are the Hatch system and purpose built skyscraper greenhouse.

The Hatch system provides a pickup and delivery service for urban needs and convenient food production. The system uses shipping containers to provide a complete growing centre, and solves a number of problems for urban farmers including tackling micronutrient deficiency by developing a hydroponic farming system that works inside a standard shipping container that will benefit those that might have alternative growing options, or find it more convenient farming in this way. Some claims are you can quickly be growing food, with little water, and have produce that needs to be transported no further than the length of a shipping container to be available. The system information is available by contacting Dean Hewson by email:

The other absolute pearl, is a concept development of Swedish social enterprise that is building a 54m high vertical farm that is said has the potential to feed up to 30,000 people. The story by Will Nichols in Stockholm, 5 Sept 2012, indicates this type of innovation is required for the world to feed over nine billion people by the middle of the century, and these solutions are outside the traditional farm. It is thought and estimated most of the arable land is already committed to agriculture, and we may be hungry by mid-century if consumption levels continue at the same rate. Add to this problem that climate change will make predictions on production less certain at the farm.

The technical advantages is impressive, it allows increased food production with accumulative environmental benefits. Also impressive is the placing the greenhouses in urban areas reduces the need for transport.

This innovation can be even more impressive in doing more than any other building and to quote the promoter “The purpose is to make it sustainable and use the resources of a city that we don’t often see as resources,…We use the excess heat from buildings to heat the greenhouse and also carbon dioxide from outside is turned into oxygen. And you can make biogas from what comes out of the greenhouse.” The concept does not expect it to be a greenhouse only. “Of course you can build a skyscraper of 200m – there’s no limits,…But what’s also of interest is to combine it with some other type of services, like an office. Half could be a greenhouse, half could be an office or shopping area. Or maybe just build it on the top, so the vegetables come right to the supermarket.”

CO2Land org finds inspiration from these two projects and the systems should produce bankable business case and environmental benefits, and also illustrates innovative people can make such things happen.