Vertical plant walls, plus Aerofarms community vertical farms, and Ceres 2030.
Vertical Plant Walls, Aerofarms Community Vertical Farms, Ceres 2030
VERTICAL PLANT WALLS
The benefits of indoor plants have been well documented. They improve indoor air quality as well as increase well-being and productivity. You’ve heard of, or had indoor potted plants and hanging plants, right? How about a vertical plant wall for your home or office, or home office, or school?!
We first encountered a vertical plant wall in the lobby of the Horace Mann school in Washington, DC. Principal Elizabeth Whisnant invested years and resources integrating nature and the importance of biodiversity into the curricula of her elementary school students. The massive, three-story high vertical plant farm was one way to really plant the idea in the brains of her students. But that’s story for another episode.
A study partially funded by NASA found that houseplants, in addition to removing carbon dioxide while producing oxygen, they also filter out and breakdown airborne pollutants through their roots. Studies have also shown that workers with nature views and interactions with vegetation have greater job satisfaction, find their jobs more challenging, are more enthusiastic about their positions, and have higher life satisfaction.
There are a few countries around the world that offer vertical plant wall services, including Plant Wall Design in North America and 4Nature System, headquartered in Warsaw, Poland. Says Beata Dziedzic, Chief Technical Officer, 4Nature System, “Modern architecture cannot do without green walls, all the more so since the importance of plants in rooms is growing.”
Why do vertical plant walls matter to us? Yet another way to invest in CO2-absorbing plants to help stave off the worst effects of climate change. And as a resiliency tool. As
Dr. Oliver Sacks, a neurologist and author, wrote of the healing power of gardens in his collection of essays, Everything in Its Place: “I cannot say exactly how nature exerts its calming and organizing effects on our brains, but I have seen in my patients the restorative and healing powers of nature and gardens. In many cases, gardens and nature are more powerful than any medication.”
Yet another plus– indoor vertical garden wall installations provide soundproofing because both the plants and the felt growing medium they’re planted in have sound absorptive properties.
DEEPER DIVE: NASA Study, Science Direct, NYT, PlantWallDesign, 4NatureSystem, OliverSacks.com
The last story highlighted the importance of discovering food crops—whether natural or assisted by biotech– that will be resilient to the unstable, warming atmosphere. Climate change exposes our food systems to increasing and potentially devastating risk. Less predictable and more extreme weather—from droughts to floods—increases farmers’ costs.
Exposure to loss threatens domestic production in many developing countries to the point of imperiling their food security, and increasing the risk of disruption to international markets.
As the unpredictability and extremity of damaging weather increases through climate change, there is an urgent need to find climate resilient crops and crop varieties, and for decision-makers to promote them.
That’s where Ceres2030 comes into play. Ceres2030 is a partnership between Cornell University, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). These institutions share a common vision: a world without hunger, where small-scale producers enjoy greater agricultural incomes and productivity, in a way that supports sustainable food systems.
In order to answer the critical questions needed to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030, more than 70 researchers from 23 countries collaborated across Ceres2030’s eight research teams. Their stories, and the work they’re conducting can be found in the Deeper Dive section of at the end of this story at theclimate.org/episodes.
Why does CERES2030 matter to us? Biological diversity is a critical line of defense in the midst of this uncertainty. But which crops and which traits are best adapted to changing conditions? What are the characteristics that define a “climate-resilient” crop, how widely have they been adopted, and how successful have new varieties been in the face of extreme weather events? This evidence synthesis will look at 30 years of research to answer these questions.
A fascinating and important site.
DEEPER DIVE: Ceres2030, Research Stories, Cornell, IFPRI, IISD
AEROFARMS COMMUNITY VERTICAL FARMING
According to its website, Aerofarms believes access to fresh food is a fundamental right – and the company is supporting communities to help revolutionize how food is grown. They’re doing it with hands-on learning and local farms to build resilient communities.
Aerofarms partner with cities and schools to build customized community farms programs, such as a recent partnership with the World Economic Forum and Jersey City to build the first-ever municipal vertical farming program.
According to a video on the New York Times website, Aerofarms supports a vertical farm at Philip’s Academy Charter school in Newark,NJ. As part of their curriculum, students plant, monitor and harvest their own greens. Those harvested greens are then served at their own school cafeteria.
Founded in 2004, the mission of Aerofarms is to be the commercial leader in indoor vertical farming, using proprietary aeroponics to optimize growing, while using up to 95% less water and zero pesticides.
the goals of Aerofarms include:
- Understand plant biology to be great farmers and solve broader problems in agriculture
- Serve communities by leading with brand and providing access to high-quality, consistent, and safe products
- Protect the environment for future generations, growing more while using less
Its commercial farms are optimized for year-round production, no matter the season or weather, and we have grown over 550 different varieties of plants including leafy greens, berries, tomatoes and more.