The idea of growing fruits and vegetables on or in a building has been around as long as construction has existed, but renewed interest in serious agricultural production within cities has inspired a number of innovations in the integration of small-scale farming into new and existing building designs. While the use of greenhouses and hydroponics is expanding exponentially throughout the agricultural industry and evolving into what is now commonly called controlled-environment agriculture (CEA), the space limitations of an urban environment results in even more creative methods of food production. Along with traditional container gardening on balconies and larger open gardens on rooftops, multi-level CEA, or vertical farming, and similar techniques are growing in popularity as demand for their high-quality produce increases.
Chris Wark and Richard Nelson examine some of these concepts and trends in CEA and urban farming with an emphasis on technical advancements and issues. Topics covered in their conversation include: awareness and benefits of urban farming; using CEA and rooftop farming to make food available to those who need it the most; energy and CEA; and the future of urban agriculture.