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Inside of a Vertical Farm in Korea

Inside a vertical farm prototype, Seoul, Korea. (Courtesy of Dickson Despommier)

Columbia University professor Dickson Despommier‘s “Vertical Farming” idea has been kicking around for some time now. But for those who haven’t heard of it, it’s a concept that would take traditional indoor, greenhouse-style farming to new heights—skyscraper heights to be exact.

Since brainstorming the idea during a course he taught called “Medical Ecology” almost nine years ago, Despommier has been ardently pushing for large-scale, indoor farms. Last year, he wrote a book, The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century, but even as late as its publication, the vertical farm concept remained just that, conceptual. But now, there are at least three up-and-running prototype vertical farms around the globe, with more coming soon.

Just before he jetted off to Manchester, England, for the Manchester International Festival where he was to unveil a retrofitted vertical farm project, Despommier stopped by the New York Academy of Science to talk about his “big idea.” Hear the interview in my latest S&C podcast.