30 July 2008

Growing Up

Four million people, give or take a hundred thousand, living on roughly 3,600 square miles. At 2 pounds of food per person per day, that's 8 million pounds of food to feed the population. (Non-humans also eat, but let's keep this simple, okay?) How much of that 8 million pounds is produced locally?

About 3%.

Agriculture in Puerto Rico is a thing of the past, as in basically dead and buried. For almost six decades, the Island's faux leadership has focused on machines and buildings, ignoring the reality of a small island with a burgeoming population, or trusting in the kindness of a friendly stranger We've known for over a hundred years.

Cut to the chase: Very little agriculture at present, not enough arable land to bring the produced food percentage to a sustainable 35-55% of total local consumption and economic restrictions up the wazoo. Solution: Vertical farming.

The primary advocate for vertical farming is Dickson Despommier, a professor at Columbia University. His idea is simple to explain: Use urban areas to erect "farmscrapers," high towers to raise crops, fish, livestock and even algae as close to population centers as possible.

The benefits are obvious: Year-round food production, efficient use of land, reduction of transportation costs, reduced use of pesticides and in Our case, decreased dependency on imports. As food production declines in the face of a world population increase, vertical farming is an idea whose time is now.

And for Puerto Rico, the urgency is even stronger. Farmscrapers in the deserts of Las Vegas and Dubai are good ideas, but they smack of something akin to opening a whorehouse in The Vatican. With Our tropical climate, abundant rainfall and ocean access, Our farmscrapers could quickly have Us becoming food exporters to the Caribbean, a position We lost so very long ago.

You might not care to calculate what 3% of 8,000,000 pounds is, so let Me simplify what that really means: Imagine eating 48 ounces of food a day all your life... then having to live on only one and a half ounces a day.

Time to think vertically.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

 

2 comments:

Joe said...

Great post. Whether it is now or in 100, 200, or 500 years... this is the future.

Sort of the future version of terrace farming. :)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrace_(agriculture)

André Gierbolini said...

wow i didin't know anything about vertical farming thats a GREAT idea