Interviewing Dickson Despommier was one of the highlights of our trip to New York. His vision for skyscraper, vertical farms is mind bending. What if we could take ag land out of production and allow it to revert to its natural state while moving farming into cities where people live, he asks. Provocative. Impossible? Maybe. Maybe not. But as we traveled around NYC and elsewhere we encountered other urban farmers who weren’t so enamored with Dickson’s ideas. They said his plans are too-pie-in-the sky, too expensive, and all hype. Here’s a particularly pointed critique of the man’s ideas.
Dickson more than defended his position in our interviews with him. So what if he’s not a farmer or an engineer? The problems with industrial agriculture are so deep they require bold new thinking. If Dickson does nothing else than get people thinking about alternative food production on a large scale then I say that’s a good thing. The world needs new ideas, big, bold and even crazy.