City Food: The Vertical Farms Growing Produce Next Door
Episode 5: Vertical farms are optimized around one idea: Growing fresh, local produce incredibly well.
Vertical Farm growing lettuce plants
Overview
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In this episode, we talk to a wide range of guests about the innovation that drives vertical farming, the sustainability challenges it addresses, and the advances in plant breeding that could take large-scale indoor agriculture into the mainstream.

Vertical Farming: As Good as We Can Grow

 

We love efficiency. We love reconfiguring a system, creating better outcomes, and in the process, using less. 

 

This type of efficient design thinking has taken us to the moon. It has slipped entire volumes of encyclopedias into our pockets. And when it comes to growing food and caring for the planet, we’ve been striving toward greater and greater efficiency since the dawn of agriculture. Vertical farming is one more step in that direction. 

 

Cities are growing, but the natural resources they need are in short supply. Luckily, creativity is not. Inside a vertical farm, brilliant, sustainable design ideas are about as abundant as kale leaves. This urban agricultural trend is creating stronger harvests with fewer inputs, and in some cases, almost zero waste.

 

Vertical farms are the pinnacle of agricultural technology, but can biology help unlock their full potential?
 

Vertical farming will never replace traditional agriculture; we’ll always need both. But they do have the potential to help solve some of our most pressing challenges.

 

Featured Guests 
Christine Escobar
Christine Escobar - Christine is a dreamer, but her head isn’t in the clouds — it’s past them. As Vice President of Space Lab Technologies, Christine designs equipment to sustain life in extraterrestrial environments. In this episode, we talked about the μg-LilyPond, a miniature vertical farm for use in microgravity.
Gerry Goh
Gerri Goh - As a Director of Enterprise Development at Temasek, Gerri helps develop her company’s “generational investments.” Those are investments driven by ideas that will reshape the way people live for decades to come. Her latest project? Vertical farming.
John Purcell
John Purcell - A veteran of the food and agriculture space, John Purcell could have ridden out his career in fruit and vegetable breeding and been proud of his contributions. But when he sees a problem—and an opportunity—he goes for it. He’s now CEO of Unfold, a joint venture between Bayer and Temasek designing seeds for vertical farms.
PJ Amini
PJ Amini - Like most interesting people, PJ Amini is interested in a lot. Which is fitting for Leaps by Bayer’s Director of Venture Investments. In that role, he’s tasked with finding and researching the next big ideas in health and agriculture, and committing Bayer’s resources to them.

 

How to Listen 

The Tomorrow Farm is available everywhere you stream your favorite podcasts, or you can stream it right here. 

 

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