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Dickson Despommier

The Vanguard

"With just thirty verticaI urban farm we could feed fifty-thousand Manhattan citizens."

He applies micro-systems to the "world" macro-system.  He  is  the  father  of vertical farming and sees his "child" as the cornerstone of the environmentally friendly cities of the future. His idea, in tune with the principles of efficiency and sustainability, reduces waste and depletion of resources  while  adding value to urban areas. His unshakable faith in his project has now been rewarded: the first, thirty storey vertical farm will be built in Milan far EXPO 2015.


Dickson Despommier is a microbiologist, an ecologist and emeritus professor of Public and Environmental Health at the Columbia University. Far 27 years he has lead many researches on cellular parasitism and held lectures and courses on Parasitic Disease, Medical Ecology and Ecology. From one of these courses, in 1999, Despommier faund the root far its idea. A strongly innovative project that originated on the failure of a previous project: creating market gardens on the New York rooftops. Despommier overturned the failure into a benefit and invented the Vertical Farms that retained the origina! spirit of the project.
The Vertical Farms are nothing but hi-tech hydroponic greenhouses stacked one on top of the other, thus making it possible to farm crops in a city. Although indoor agriculture has been around far long, nobody befare Despommier had thought of making it vertical. Despommier thinks that vertical agriculture is the only solution to counter population increase, urbanization and infectious diseases caused by parasites that spread when horizontal agriculture techniques are used.
In 2010 Despommier published his first popular book: "The Vertical Farm: feeding the world in the 21st Century". Two years ago Vertical Farms were regarded as  an utopia,  but  one year  ago the  first  prototypes were built. Among those prototypes we remember the first, three-story one built in Suwon, South Korea, and another in Chicago which was  built on an  old industria! building. Vertical farms have a lot of  advantages: faod is organically farmed, urban space is saved, it is possible to farm all year round and in any place and use of pollutant  substances is reduced. Despommier's  idea was  regarded as visionary in the  beginning  but  today it has become a beacon far all countries where faod imports are high. Despommier claims that even developing countries could use this technique to fight one of the most dangerous plagues of the world: hunger. 

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