Food shortages, droughts, and poor crop yields can devastate the population of the affected area. One company wants to help out by building 'plantscrapers,' and the idea is rapidly gaining momentum thanks to crowdfunding online.
Swedish company Plantagon combines an urban farm and greenhouse technologies with stunning architecture styles. The group developed a plan for the World Food Building, the world's first landmark plantscraper. As of June 2017, the company has over 40 approved patents to its name, and all work toward building a better future through the plantscraper projects.
"Since the spring of 2009 Tekniska Verken and Plantagon have been discussing the potential of integrating modern urban agriculture into the Kallerstad district in the city of Linköping, 2 hours south of the Swedish capital Stockholm," said Plantagon's leaders in a statement about the development. "Initially the purpose was to ascertain whether access to locally cultivated vegetables would help develop Tekniska Verken’s existing symbiotic systems – by utilizing waste heat and carbon dioxide from the adjacent biogas facility; by using low-value return heat from the Gärstadverken; and by using surplus biomass from the greenhouse in biogas production."
Ultimately, the World Food Building would serve as a 60-meter-tall vertical farm in a 16-story office building. The building would sit in the company's home country of Sweden. Fans of the project hope that it could represent a shift in how the world sees urban farming.
"In a dense city environment access to land is extremely low and the price is extremely high," the company noted. "A viable solution for sustainable urban food production must produce maximum volume of food on a minimum land area whilst using minimal resources and generating minimum waste."
Roughly 23.5 million people in the United States alone live in a food desert with no access to fresh produce or healthier alternatives to food. Over 2.3 million of those people live in very low-income areas that are over 10 miles away from the nearest supermarket.
According to the company's website, Plantagon exists to develop "a unique way of combining urban agriculture, innovative technical solutions and architecture to meet the demand for efficient food production within cities."
And it's not simply the aesthetics or the idea itself that's catching people's attention. Harvard University approached Plantagon to study its governance and business models. Essentially, Harvard noticed that Plantagon promotes "an advanced societal approach" that encourages democracy in both stakeholdings and sharing of the product.
"We are radically challenging short term economic paradigms. Being acknowledged by prominent researchers in such an impressive study, this indicates that our governance model may be ground-breaking and even important for the future development of business. I hope that the research findings will be used for an absolute necessary value change in the business community from short-term to long-term, and that it will be a piece in the puzzle to develop modern legislations and policies for organizations and business - aiming not only at maximizing profit but meeting societal challenges - locally as well as globally," said Hans Hassle, developer of the Companization governance model and co-founder of Plantagon.
The company is also launching its first full-scale energy underground system in Stockholm. The mini-energy grid could be used in the development of the World Food Building. Plantagon also created the Foodwall, a vertical growing system that puts organic foods at the fingertips of city dwellers. Plantagon estimates that if one home out of 10 in a city added a Foodwall, it could save 235 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.