“Vertical Farmers Never Have To Pray For Rain”

Nine years ago on Sea Change Radio, we spoke to the self-proclaimed founding father of vertical farming, Dickson Despommier, about the concept of moving crops onwards and upwards (literally). In an interesting twist, the global COVID pandemic has resulted in a lot of abandoned office buildings. To proponents of vertical farming, these spaces may represent unprecedented opportunity. We thought this seemed like a good time to revisit our original Sea Change Radio interview with Dr. Despommier, unedited, in its entirety. In fact, Dr. Despommier co-authored a paper just last week for the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) titled “Wheat Yield Potential in Controlled-environment vertical farms.” In the paper, the authors write that “although it is unlikely that indoor wheat farming will be economically competitive with current market prices in the near future, it could play an essential role in hedging against future climate or other unexpected disruptions to the food system.” Now, let’s go back to our interview from November 2011.