This "glass tree" vertical farm could solve urban food deserts

Creative agency Framlab is tackling the problem of 'urban food deserts' with their conceptual Glasir project. This group of modular vertical farms provides low-income neighborhoods with access to fresh produce.

The greenhouse-like cubes were designed to be built anywhere in the city where there is room for a regular tree. Glasir works on renewable energy and rainwater and even cleans the air using an outer layer on the greenhouse modules.

Architect Andreas Tjeldflaat says that his ambition was "to confront environmental harm and social inequality within our food systems" when working on this project.

To reduce the amount of water it uses, the self-regulating system in his design uses aeroponics. This creates a misty environment where crops need no soil but can grow and absorb nutrients faster and more effectively than in traditional farming.

"This allows us to reduce water usage and land arrow requirements by about 90 percent," explains Tjeldflaat. "In the US, one in 10 households experiences food insecurity annually. And it's estimated that this number actually is closer to one and four, due to the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic," says Tjeldflaat.

"There's a lot of focus on vertical farming these days, but those are typically located in areas outside of the cities. So the answer with this project is to kind of bypass those requirements and find ways to really implement solutions within the neighborhood," says the architect.

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