The Answer to World Hunger?

800px-Ueberladewagen_(jha)Food. It’s one of our basic needs for life next to clean air and water. Why has hunger been such a problem? People around the world are dying of starvation and malnutrition whilst people in rich countries are dying of over eating and obesity. How can we as a species deprive people of a basic necessity? The problems we face in the world in regards to food are droughts, flooding, disease, and overpopulation. There just doesn’t seem there will be enough food or land to grow the food on for 10 billion people in 2050 (where it is projected to plateau at). How are we going to cope?

Genetic modification of tomatoesDuring the green revolution, we went through the same issues and concerns with overpopulation and not enough food. Geneticists and biologists worked on finding ways to increase yields on food production. They developed fertilisers and pesticides and eventually led to creating genetically modified products to withstand disease and increase the size of crops. This was a major breakthrough! Scientists thought they had it all worked out. But alas, we are in the same situation as before. The increasing of global population along with climate change is taking us back to the hardship of feeding everyone.

However, don’t be saddened. We have the technology and know how to combat this global problem. What if I told you there was a way to eliminate world hunger and provide an abundance of food for everyone? You’d think I’m living in the clouds! But there is a way to do this. We can do it with vertical farms.

20101211_tqp001Vertical farming is a concept that has been around for centuries. In fact, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon has been said to have had amazing terraced farming and irrigation. Although legendary, the idea is still around. Vertical farming essentially is like turning a skyscraper into a giant greenhouse and farm with floors upon floors dedicated to crops. The crops would grow with the aid of UV lighting and hydroponics. Possibly even aquaponics (the use of fish to produce fertiliser and food). The first question many may ask is about energy. It must cost a hell of a lot of money in electricity to keep the crops growing. Well wind turbines and solar panels could be places on top of the building or a solar farm could be placed in the desert and transport the power to the farms (thinking North Africa). Use of energy and water can be extremely sufficient. Hydroponics only needs about 10% of the normal amount of water. Also, there would be no need for soil, pesticides or even GMOs. We even wouldn’t have to worry about flooding, droughts, or other weather extremes.

verticalfarmThere is already a vertical farm in place in Singapore. The farm is “developed by Sky Green Farms, consists of 120 aluminium towers, each extending up to 9 metres in height. It can produce 500kg of three kinds of vegetables per day, all of which are sold in the local FairPrice Finest supermarkets.”

6Now that we know about vertical farming, why are we still fretting about overpopulation and lack of land? Why are we poisoning ourselves with pesticides and letting ourselves be ruled by GMO corporations like Monsanto? We could work on these farms together and wipe out hunger altogether.

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