When Columbia professor Dickson Despommier set out to solve America's food, water, and energy crises, he didn't just think big - he thought up. Despommier's stroke of genius, The Vertical Farm, has excited scientists, architects, and politicians around the globe. These farms, grown inside skyscrapers, would provide solutions to many of the serious problems we currently face, including: allowing year-round crop production; providing food to areas currently lacking arable land; immunity to weather-related crop failure; re-use of water collected by de-humidification of the indoor environment; new employment opportunities; use of pesticides, fertilizers, or herbicides; drastically reduced dependence on fossil fuels; crop loss due to shipping or storage; agricultural ruff; and, many more. Vertical farming can be located on abandoned city properties, creating new urban revenue streams. They will employ lots of skilled and unskilled labour. They can be run on wind, solar, tidal, and geothermal energy. They can be used to grow plants for pharmaceutical purposes or for converting grey water back into drinking water.
DR. DICKSON DESPOMMIER spent thirty eight years as a professor of microbiology and public health in environmental health sciences at Columbia, where he has won the Best Teacher award six times, and received the national 2003 American Medical Student Association Golden Apple Award for teaching. His work on vertical farms has been featured on such top national media as BBC, French National television, CNN, The Colbert Report, and The Tonight Show, as well as in full-length articles in The New York Times, Time Magazine, Scientific American, and The Washington Post. He recently spoke at the TED Conference, Pop!Tech and the World Science Festival and has been invited by the governments of China, India, Mexico, Jordan, Brazil, Canada, and Korea to work on environmental problems. He has been invited to speak at numerous national and international professional annual meetings as a keynote speaker, and at universities, including Harvard and MIT. He is one of the visionaries featured at the Chicago Museum of Science and Technology. Despommier lives in Fort Lee, New Jersey.