Friday, March 19, 2010

Vertical Farming on Huffington Post

Just thought I'd share that Huff Po is featuring a "Vote For Your Favorite VF" article complete with pictures of some Vertical Farm designs.  Check it out and vote.  I'm interested to see the results. 

Valcent's VertiCrop system somehow made it into the running, but let's not get confused: what they're doing is cool, but it's not Vertical Farming.  No greywater remidiation, no waste-to-energy recapture, single story, etc. etc. etc.  I know they're trying to capitalize on the buzz surrounding the VF name, which makes sense, but it's just a little too transparent for me. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Why Are Hamburgers So Cheap?

Really though, why?  The subsidies are part of it, of course.  And the subsidies have to do with what we want to export: there's more money to be made exporting meat and wheat than cucumbers.  Part of it is economies of scale: the b. model of McDonald's requires that there be thousands of locations to keep their prices so low.  

Can we do anything about it?

Fortunately, yes.  In capitalism, a dollar is a vote.  As long as money makes the world go round and people use cliches, a person's consumer behavior is meaningful.  Spending money responsibly and "being the change you wish to see" are the best bet I think.  The deeper issue, and the one that McDonald's would use in its defense, is that people like hamburgers more than salads.  Is that true?  Is it changeable?

Update: Annie Leonard over at The Story of Stuff uses the term "manufactured demand" to discuss how bottled water companies convince people to buy their inferior-to-tap-water product.  I think the term is great, and it obviously applies to the cheap hamburger discussion.  

(Thanks to GOOD and PCRM for this story).

Saturday, March 13, 2010

How Can We Feed Everyone?

How to feed the world ? from Denis van Waerebeke on Vimeo.

Check out more from Fast Company.  Is anybody still surprised that a global commodities market widens the gap between rich and poor, fed and unfed? 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Feast Your Eyes

On this.

Complete with ETFE, it's good by me. 

(Design by Rahul Surin)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dickson Despommier, A Top-Tenner for Inspiration in Sustainable Food

Fast Company, a forward-thinking design, technology and business magazine, just published their top-ten list of "Most Inspirational People in Sustainable Food."  And guess what: Dick Despommier made the grade.  About the Vertical Farm guru, they say:
The Vertical Farm Project is the brainchild of Despommier, a professor at Columbia, and his students. Envisioning a world of sustainable farms housed in urban skyscrapers, the project proposes paying traditional farmers to simply plant trees on their land, in an attempt to sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Crazy? Maybe. But it's inspiring more thought, more solutions.
Really, this is no surprise.  News outlets from the New York Times to Icon Magazine have covered the Dr. and Vertical Farms.  He's galvanized urban farmers and rooftop dreamers all over the world.  The creativity that skyscraper farms inspire will not be undercut by the broken-record arguments of those who think every feasable good idea already exists.  For Vertical Farming, it looks like its time has finally come.