A rosy future for urban farming?

May 22, 2013
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Cary Mitchell, left, and Celina Gomez harvest tomatoes grown around red and blue LED lights, which use far less energy than traditional high-pressure sodium lamps in greenhouses. (Courtesy of Tom Campbell/Purdue Agricultural Communication.)
Cary Mitchell, left, and Celina Gomez harvest tomatoes grown around red and blue LED lights, which use far less energy than traditional high-pressure sodium lamps in greenhouses. (Courtesy of Tom Campbell/Purdue Agricultural Communication.)
The future of vertical farming may lie not in soaring urban skyscrapers lit by the sun, but in large suburban warehouses awash in pink LED light , according to Purdue University's Cary Mitchell.

"The idea of taking a skyscraper and turning it into a vertical farming complex is absolutely ridiculous from an energy perspective," Mitchell told NPR. He said vertical farms make more economic sense in suburban areas where electrcity and real estate prices tend to be cheaper.

 

Plants grown in these suburban warehouses could get all the light they need via a precise mix of blue and red LEDs. The concept is already being trailed in Bryan, Tex., where Caliber Biotherapeutics has built a 150,000 square foot plant factory that grows 2.2 million plants in stacks up to 50 feet high.

 

Click here to read the full NPR article.

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