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Classroom Resources: Can Cities Feed Us?

Can Cities Feed Us?

By Sarah Deweerdt

July – September 2010 / Vol. 11 No. 3

Read the article

Discussion Questions

  1. What are the environmental implications – both pro and con – of urban vs. rural/suburban living?
  2. What are the pros and cons of vertical farming?  Can you think of any challenges to vertical farming that are not mentioned in the article?
  3. The author advances the notion that if Dickson Despommier’s strategy is fully developed, “for every acre of land farmed indoors, 10 to 20 acres of current farmland could go wild.”  What does this statement assume?
  4. What social or ecological factors might limit the spread of vertical farming as implemented by John Edel?  How might these limits be overcome?

Websites for Further Information

Urban Agriculture in the News

  • A farm on every floor (New York Times, August 23, 2009):
  • Urban farm is no fish tale (Chicago Tribune, August 16, 2010):,0,4727073.story
  • Las Vegas to build world’s first 30 story vertical farm (Next Energy News, January 2, 2008):

Key Concepts

  • Agriculture
  • Urban
  • Cites
  • Vertical farming
  • Hydroponics
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