Dickson Despommier & The Vertical Farming Project
On Thursday, November 6, 2014, a sword swallower and the founder of the Vertical Farming Project spoke at the same conference. But that’s PINC, ya know?
PINC is dedicated to bringing together a variety of speakers, all from different walks of life with one thing in common: a passion for creativity and innovation.
Dickson Despommier, the founder of the Vertical Farming Project, joined us at PINC.Sarasota’s inaugural event to share his insight on sustainable farming practices.
In 2000, Despommier challenged his medical ecology students to imagine the world in 2050. What will it look like? What should it look like? Long story short: they decided it’ll be overcrowded, and it would be really neat if we could feed the entire population of New York City from crops grown within its boundaries.
So, what would happen if every square foot of rooftop in New York was utilized for growing crops? Good question. After reviewing aerial surveys in the library and crunching the numbers to estimate the calories consumed by such a large number of people, the students came to the conclusion that rooftop farming just wasn’t going to cut it.
But Despommier didn’t stop there. He started to wonder about the abandoned buildings in New York and whether plants could learn to live on different levels, like people. He continued the vertical farming project with his next class, and the class after that, and the class after that for the next nine years.
The result was a farming method that eliminated harmful runoff and used natural resources more efficiently. A sustainable farm blueprint that brought new meaning to locally grown produce.
There’s tons of interesting information in this article published by The New Yorker about vertical farming, like the fact that plants create themselves partly out of thin air. (Yeah. Crazy. Go nature.)
We put a lot of heart into the selection of our speakers each year at PINC, and, although we know their stories before they even grace the stage, they always manage to surpass our expectations.
The world needs more dreamers like Dickson Despommier. View his full talk from PINC.Sarasota 2014 here. Plus, stay tuned for teasers and tastes of PINC.Sarasota 2017.