Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Fifty Story Farm?

I’m a sucker for new ideas, but I’m not buying what Dr. Dickson Despommier of Columbia University is trying to sell to people in New York City. Dr. Despommier is getting serious consideration and a number of articles written on his concept of implementing Food Production Skyscrapers in NYC and other urban centers. He thinks that “it would only take roughly 150 such buildings to feed the entire city of New York for a year.”

Dr. Despommier and others in urban centers really need to get out and see the vastness of the U. S. and other countries. They need to fly over the country, not at 30,000 feet but a few thousand feet to get a feel for the amount of land that is available in places other than New York City.

They also need to realize that world agriculture is evolving, very productive and innovative. Comments they make, such as, “__________xxx acres of new land will be needed to grow enough food to feed them, if traditional farming practices continue as they are practiced today,” don’t take into account progress being made in crop production around the world.

As an example, when I was growing up 100 bushel/acre corn was considered a good yield. Today, on those same fields, 200 bushel/acre is the norm and scientists are getting over 400 bushel/acre with new experimental hybrids and production techniques. In addition, new technology will allow corn and other crops to be raised on much less water than is normal today, opening up vast amounts of new land all over the world.

But, take a look for yourself. It is fun to see some of these futuristic ideas, even if they probably don’t make any sense.

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