Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 26 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 1/9/11

Report from 2050: Vertical Farming Takes Off in Abu Dhabi

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   No comments
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Reynard Loki

["Reports from 2050" is a series of imagined reports from the year 2050, supported by current news, facts and predictions. To see what's real and what's fake, click on the links within the text.]

JANUARY 5, 2050 (Baffin Island, Canada) -- Over half-a-century ago, in 1999, American ecologist Dickson Despommier, at the time a professor of public health in environmental health sciences at Columbia University, developed the concept of "vertical farming" with graduate students in a medical ecology class.

In 2010, he published "The Vertical Farm," an agri-eco-adaptation text that explored the possibility of farming in skyscrapers as a sustainable urban agriculture solution. The book is now required reading in "verti-agriculture" classes around the world.

That year, Smithsonian Magazine reported that "urban farms are seen as an antidote to industrialized agriculture's excesses, including chemical fertilizers that pollute waterways and the high costs, both monetary and environmental, of transporting food to urban markets."

In the past four decades since, the human population has grown by almost two-and-a-half billion, reaching 9.3 billion people -- with 80% living in urban areas.

And now, Abu Dhabi is feeding the majority of its population with food grown in local vertical farms. According to a new study of the world's vertical farms by the Baffin Island-based Institute of Climate Change Adaptation (ICCA), the capital of the United Arab Emirates is the first city that can make this claim.

"The Abu Dhabi model is proof that vertical farming is not only possible on a grand scale, but necessary," said Professor Arkady Voronov of the ICCA, in an email. He also noted that since 2010, Abu Dhabi has lost approximately 445 square miles (1,155 square kilometers) of its coast due to the rise in sea level.

"As the rising sea continues to claim vast tracts of shoreline around the world and people migrate to urban centers, growing food vertically in cities will be a key part to any successful solution to the global food crisis," Voronov said. "The world is undergoing a large-scale loss of arable land due to the effects of climate change, desertification and human development -- and that is not likely to change anytime soon."

In the foreword to "The Vertical Farm," New York-based environmental justice activist Majora Carter wrote, "If the skyscraper farm is like a 747 jetliner, we are now at the stage of the Wright Brothers."

If Carter's prediction (and metaphor) holds, then the 747 of vertical farming is just a little over a few decades away. In the meantime, the residents of Abu Dhabi are currently reaping the benefits of a sustainable meal aboard something akin to a 1949 de Havilland DH 106 Comet.

[Part of the series " Reports from 2050 ."]


Rate It | View Ratings

Reynard Loki Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Reynard Loki is a New York-based artist, writer and editor. He is the environment and food editor at, a progressive news website. He is also the co-founder of MomenTech, a New York-based experimental production studio whose projects (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Barack Obama is Not America's First Black President

Americans' Paranoid Fear of Terrorism Is Illogical, Irresponsible and Uninformed -- Here's Some Perspective

Report from 2050: Our Acid Seas

Happy Co-Dependence Day

Exclusive Interview with Francois Hugo, Founder, Seal Alert-SA

Save Kolahoi, Save Kashmir

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend