Reducing a city’s wastewater burden is also attractive. New York City produces 1.4 billion gallons of liquid waste every day, according to city reports. This massive stream is simply thrown away—it is mixed with chlorine at 14 treatment plants and dumped into local waterways. Instead urban farms could reprocess wastewater for irrigation. Developers that are designing sustainable eco-cities are talking to Despommier about vertical farming for that reason as well as its other appealing promises of more environmentally sound food production. “I keep asking people, ‘What’s wrong with this picture?’ ” Despommier notes. “Once they think about it, they say, ‘Nothing.’ ”
Note: This article was originally printed with the title, "Growing Vertical".