Like many cities, New York imports the vast majority of it’s vegetables and leafy greens from vast distances at great expense to the environment. The freshness of the produce is also impaired because of the time taken to get the crop from farm to table. The proposition is that by growing crops within densely populated centres, these issues could be overcome. The chart above is a comparison of alternative methodologies for growing produce in or around buildings. The growing environments chosen were rooftop farms, rooftop greenhouses, window farms, vertically integrated greenhouses and vertical farming. A science barge on the Bronx river was examined as a benchmark and conventional agriculture was the basis of the comparison. Water, carbon emissions, land use, energy and building costs were measured or estimated for each kg of lettuce produced using each method. This research was an important starting point that could be refined with further. It became apparent that that these growing methodologies would work with varying degrees of success within cities where there are food shortages or other motivations for the adoption of building integrated agriculture on a large scale.
This project was undertaken as part of an RMIT Design thesis looking at building integrated architecture solutions, in partnership with Maria Aiolova from Terreform.