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The future of farming

I think the future of farming is (semi-)closed-system vertical farming. Seal up a stack of prefabbed farming units in a vertical enclosure, all carbon and nitrogren, etc, remains in the enclosure. Each unit comes with sun-lamps and soil for growing things. Some units could be used to raise livestock. And in skyscraper-sized buildings, the sides could be made of glass to let in sunlight (except I don't think that would work well on livestock levels. Better put the livestock in the underground levels).

With vertical farms, we could reap the benefits of farming - even raising food animals - without the environmental impact. Vertical farms could replace the old style of farming by quintupling (or better) the usefulness of an area of land. Old fashioned sprawl farms could be replaced by stack farms that go several levels down in the ground, and loads of levels up in the air. Old, obsolete farmland could then be returned to nature, trees planted, etc. More trees equal less carbon in the air, which means less global warming.

Some people are already experimenting with this. If it succeeds to the levels I hope it does, a few dozen of these stack farm buildings could feed a whole city. We could then convert old farmland into national parks and watch nature flourish on the land we used to use so inefficiently.

Yes, I think this is the future. And it would be an area for businesses to expand into when the 3D printing technology becomes fabbers capable of making anything, so they can stay alive after the means of production is put into the hands of the workers. Which they'll need all the places to expand to that they can, to survive. The days of corporations are numbered unless they adapt to the future that's coming. They'll have to rely on providing services, mainly, because most products will be able to be fabbed by anyone with a fabber machine.

Crossposted from http://fayanora.dreamwidth.org


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 5th, 2011 03:54 pm (UTC)
Depends on if you want ugly or beauty. You can have both.
Paolo Soleri. Look up Arcologies. Several folks have gone far with his ideas.
Mar. 5th, 2011 05:39 pm (UTC)
You forgot the environmental impact of *building* those farm stacks. And of generating the power for all those lights and for pumping water around, etc, etc.

The building impact is not just where you build it, but also where you produce the materials that go into it, mine the ores, dump the wastes from manufacturing and mining, etc.

Makes more sense to just rig up ways to control runoff from farms (and try to get rid of the high density livestock operations) and stick *people* in the massive structures.

Mar. 7th, 2011 07:26 am (UTC)
Vertical farms are an idea I have been interested in my whole life. Before I had ever heard of them elsewhere, I had thought that farming should be done vertically, and that it inevitably would be. All open - field farmland could be restored to ecological habitat if farms could be self - contained. I think that by the end of the 21st century, most if not all farming will be done in vertical farms.

Furthermore, I also believe that meat will be vat - grown and will be indistinguishable from meat as it is known today, because the process of growing meat (muscle) tissues will be perfected.

Biodiesel in the form of algae can also be produced within these vertical farms. This makes it possible to produce enough algae - based biodiesel to replace petroleum - based fuels.

Vertical farms, in addition, provide many advantages over open - field farms besides land conservation. Food can be grown with hydroponics, so runoff is not a problem and large amounts of fertilizer are not necessary. The nutrients for the hydroponics can be made from biowaste.

Also, the climate can be controlled so crops can be grown year - round. There are no crop failures due to droughts, no pests (and therefore no pesticides), no floods, and water can even be recycled so you do not have a constant drain of freshwater for irrigation. Also, food is produced in large cities so those cities are food - secure, and transport costs are greatly reduced.

One result, though, is that rural life will all but disappear. The future will be the age of mega - cities or arcologies, or both. Outside the cities and arcologies there will be wilderness (mostly forest) and parkland. Beyond tribal communities and rural "getaways" (resort towns, private cottages), there will be no human habitation in the hinterlands.

By the way, arcologies can contain all of their own self - contained farms, to make them completely self - sufficient. I have been obsessed with arcologies since I was ten years old.
Mar. 7th, 2011 11:07 am (UTC)
Too many people prefer the country for rural life to disappear.

The problem with algae-based biodiesel is it still spews carbon into the atmosphere.
Mar. 7th, 2011 07:31 am (UTC)
BTW, your prediction about the fabricators is the one I have always had - that nanotechnology would alter (but not end) the capitalist system by making every home into its own factory. The means of production will not be the main basis of wealth anymore because everyone will have the means of production to some extent. I think that everything will come to center around intellectual property, and that it will become the new basis of wealth.

I think that large - scale AI will replace factories as the foundation of corporate economic power. They will be used to develop complex product designs.
Mar. 7th, 2011 11:09 am (UTC)
There's also biotech companies, I think those will continue to do well, finding new cures to diseases, trying to reverse the aging process, extending human life, etc.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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