Good Book–The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century, Reuters Briefing- Regenerative Farming, Should UK Mobilize a Volunteer Army to Speed Energy Transition?

by | Sep 7, 2022 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

A good book–“The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century, plus a Reuters Briefing- Regenerative Farming. And, should UK mobilize a volunteer army to speed its energy transition?



The food and agriculture industry is undergoing massive transformation. Companies face an increasingly complex operating environment but have great opportunities for impact.

Unprecedented global economic shifts, changing consumer demands, an increasing focus on environmental stewardship, major supply chain advances and a wave of new technological disruptions are creating real opportunities and challenges for farmers and companies operating right across the food value chain.

Consumers are demanding ever more choice, transparency and sustainability and food companies are struggling to keep up. What strategies and tools do we need to increase innovation throughout the food chain and drive action at every point, from the field to the plate?

As a result, Reuters, the news agency is doing two things: first, issuing a report called  Regenerative Farming Briefing. Second holding a Reuters Events: Transforming Food USA 2022, taking place November 1-2, 2022, Chicago. Transform Food USA 2022 will unite industry leaders passionate about challenging what’s possible and developing responsible solutions to deliver a better global food system.

Click on the links in the Deeper Dive section at the end of this story at to find out how to download the report.

DEEPER DIVE: Briefing, Reuters Chicago Event Registration



Last week on The Climate Daily, we talked about vertical farms and their importance in creating resilience to food insecurity in the era of climate change. Today we’re going to talk about the guy who literally wrote the book on the subject.

Back in 1999, When Columbia professor Dickson Despommier set out to solve America’s food, water, and energy crises, he didn’t just think big – he thought up! Despommier’s stroke of genius, the vertical farm, has excited scientists, architects, and politicians around the globe. Now, in his groundbreaking book, THE VERTICAL FARM: FEEDING THE WORLD IN THE 21ST CENTURY  Despommier explains how the vertical farm will have an incredible impact on changing the face of this planet for future generations.

Vertical farms deal with modern city challenges such as:

  • Safe and abundant water supply
  • Food safety and security
  • Reduction of dependence on fossil fuels
  • Restoration of damaged local ecosystems

Despommier takes readers on an incredible journey inside the vertical farm, buildings filled with fruits and vegetables that will provide local food sources for entire cities. Vertical farms will allow us to:

– Grow food 24 hours a day, 365 days a year

– Protect crops from unpredictable and harmful weather

– Re-use water collected from the indoor environment

– Provide jobs for residents

– Eliminate use of pesticides, fertilizers, or herbicides

– Drastically reduce dependence on fossil fuels

– Prevent crop loss due to shipping or storage

– Stop agricultural runoff

Vertical farms can be built in abandoned buildings and on deserted lots, transforming our cities into urban landscapes which will provide fresh food grown and harvested just around the corner. Possibly the most important aspect of vertical farms is that they can be built by nations with little or no arable land, transforming nations which are currently unable to farm into top food producers. In the tradition of the bestselling The World Without Us, The Vertical Farm is a completely original landmark work destined to become an instant classic.

 Sting wrote on the book’s cover, “The vertical farm is a world-changing innovation whose time has come. Dickson Despommier’s visionary book provides a blueprint for securing the world’s food supply and at the same time solving one of the gravest environmental crises facing us today.”

Imagine a world where every town has its own local food source, grown in the safest way possible, where no drop of water or particle of light is wasted, and where a simple elevator ride can transport you to nature’s grocery store – imagine the world of the vertical farm.

DEEPER DIVE: Google Books, Vertical Farm, TedX Talk on EcoCities, TedX on Vertical Farms,



According to The Guardian, the UK should “mobilize an army of volunteers” to transform the country’s energy landscape and reduce its dependence on Russian fossil fuel by setting up community energy groups, say campaigners.

John Taylor, the energy projects manager at Energy Hub told the Guardian: “When it comes to the climate emergency and the current gas crisis, people don’t just want to be spectators, they want to be involved in the solutions. Next winter is shaping up to be an unprecedented challenge, so it’s vital we insulate and fit renewables to as many homes as possible over the next nine months.”

Local authorities and energy hubs have access to government grants for such schemes.

Taylor added: “Mobilising an army of volunteers to help find homes who most need help would have an immediate and positive impact; community energy groups can bring that really important element of trust for referring vulnerable people to these official grant programmes.”

Unlike other energy businesses, these community schemes are owned by the people who live near the infrastructure, and can profit from the energy provided.

“When it comes to larger projects like solar and wind farms, it’s important to remember that community energy groups are businesses like other developers, but they’re democratically owned by the people who will live alongside this new infrastructure,” Taylor explained.

Examples of good community energy projects

South-east – Enborne Parish Field Solar Farm – a small solar farm on charity-owned land. Original purpose of the charity was to use land to grow firewood to distribute to the poor of the village. Now giving it a modern twist by using sunlight to make electricity instead of firewood.

Midlands – Cromford Mill Hydropower – Nottingham city council is working with local people to install a water wheel on the River Derwent, which could power homes with hydroelectric energy. There was a water wheel on this site in 1776, so new technology is meeting historic infrastructure.

North-west – Lancaster Cohousing – this nonprofit housing group has homes connected to a community microgrid. Their power is from a 160kW hydroelectric scheme, Halton Lune Hydro, and from 89kWp of roof-mounted solar panels on their roofs, owned by MORE Renewables, another local community energy company. National Grid electricity is only imported when demand exceeds supply. They are net exporters of electricity and have a biomass boiler for hot water and heating.

London – Ripple Energy – Building the UK’s first consumer owned wind farms. People can buy shares in the wind turbines and have their share of electricity sales discounted off their home electricity tariff.

South East London Community Energy – A really active group, which delivers fuel poverty advice and referrals to council grants as well as rooftop solar projects.

South-east – BHESCO (Brighton and Hove Energy Services Cooperative) – One of the countries most successful community energy groups, offering home and business retrofit under an energy-as-a-service business model.

DEEPER DIVE: The Guardian, Enborne Parish Field Solar Farm, Cromford Mill Hydropower, Lancaster Cohousing, South East London Community Energy, Ripple Energy