Are Vertical Skyfarms the Future of Sustainable Agriculture?
Skyfarm first began as a research project in response to the 2015 Milan Expo theme ‘feed the world’. It is estimated that in the next 35 years nearly 80 per cent of the earth’s population will live in urban centres. Over the same period of time , the earth’s population is expected to grow by an additional 3 billion people. If we continue down this route and use traditional farming methods, we will need a land mass the size of Brazil to feed these people.
According to Inhabitat, Skyfarm proposes an alternative to the typical land-intensive farming systems. A vertical farm, it is designed to produce crops in multi-story structures within high density urban areas or where there is insufficient land or poor quality soil. The multi-story tensegrity structure (isolated components in compression delineated by prestressed tension members) is made of light bamboo to create a rigid circular frame and maximize sun exposure onto the farm. These towers support several layers of agricultural cultivation and an aquaponics system that enables the growth of crops and fish together in a re-circulating system; nutrients derived from fish waste are fed to the plants and the plants provide filters for the fish to thrive in.
The structure is zoned to make the best use of water and nutrients, and to spread the weight of water efficiently across the tower. At ground level there is space for a market or restaurant to encourage the public into the farm and act as an education space or social hub, where all the growing parts of the tower are visible.