A lettuce grows in Hong Kong
March 18, 2017 12:22 PM   Subscribe

Excellent, but they seem to be gardens at best, not farms. Farms are big enough to make a living from (cue hollow laughter from farmers everywhere).
posted by Segundus at 1:43 PM on March 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Urban farming is basically a net neutral thing and not ever going to be that useful in terms of food production. Farming doesn't make sense on the most expensive land possible.
posted by Ferreous at 1:48 PM on March 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

Here's an actual example of "indoor farming".
posted by sammyo at 2:21 PM on March 18, 2017

heh, scale down this Amazing Hydroponic farm Japan Gandpa Dome, add the LED magic, and a bit more development and you've got yourself a magic little disk thing that churns out produce.
posted by zengargoyle at 2:58 PM on March 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Even if indoor farming works great, why do it in a place where 860 square feet is orders of many many times more expensive than 860 square feet outside the city? It's much more posturing than any sort of sustainable or environmentally friendly thing.
posted by Ferreous at 3:20 PM on March 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Doesn't pumping water to the tops of buildings take energy? What does that add to the irrigation costs?
posted by MrVisible at 3:50 PM on March 18, 2017

This is basically square-foot gardening; my wife kept one of these gardens up for about 10 years. They can be far more productive than regular farms per unit area, but there are labor costs involved obviously. They actually use less water than normal farms because it's better controlled. Considering that the roof of a skyscraper is pretty much useless except for things like radio antennas, this is probably a more than just symbolically productive conversion of wasted space to usefulness.
posted by Bringer Tom at 4:23 PM on March 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

I've been to one of their workshops. It's interesting, but it's gardening and not farming. It *would* be nice if we could do this on the disused rooftops in the city but I think this organisation's sweet spot is arranging workshops for businesses and not creating food self-reliance in Hong Kong.
posted by frumiousb at 8:30 PM on March 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

As was noted above, if the space isn't used for anything then whether the land is expensive doesn't really matter. Of course Hong Kong isn't going to be food self-sufficient any time soon, but every little bit helps especially with the global growth rate of urban areas. As far as using energy to pump up the water, it's also saving money in transportation. If all available urban spaces were used to grow food, as is becoming a growing trend, it would definitely add up, to say nothing of the intensive urban farming being made possible with new technology. Beyond that however, even if only flowers were grown that would still be worth it. Research is proving how deeply beneficial exposure to nature is for people.

The reflexive naysaying gets a bit much sometimes...
posted by blue shadows at 12:24 AM on March 19, 2017 [5 favorites]

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