In July, a show in Lebanon aired on TV, “Kalam el-Nas” on LBC that informed and documented the state of our food production quality in its varying processes. It seems we water our fruits and vegetables with sewage directly among other major hygienic problems. An increase in the death of citizens due to food poisoning and an active Facebook page 'Food poisoning victims of Lebanon' keeps this topic alive. Without discussing the restaurant hygiene standards, controlling where and what we purchase of fresh food products, with the current population cost and temperature rise has become nearly impossible.
Part of Kalam al Nas report
To add to the problem of our unhygienic food production a previous entry entitled “Food Security: Can global food production be increased?” indicated that Lebanon needs to increase food production by three times the total area of the country and therefore increase the currently existing agriculture land by about 5 times to be self sufficient. http://goo.gl/rCRV9.
Moreover the Food Security indicators of Lebanon’s agriculture instead of increasing show a steady and clear decrease. Considering food is a basic human right for nutrition food security policies and plans need to take a forefront in our demands. Moreover healthy and clean food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods need to be affordable and accessible to all.
The need to tackle food security and sovereignty in all its aspects is clear, yet, what to do, how to act, what to propose to increase access to good quality food, seem less clear in the case of Lebanon. Vertical farming in this case, similar to the world, might be a viable option to help grow the food needed to support the growing population and provide the existing one with healthy clean food.
The case of Beirut:
If Beirut used all its public sites as sites where a network of vertical farms can proliferates several aspects will be covered. These my include
1- No weather related crop failures
2- Introduces urban agriculture in amounts that are relevant to the need of production.
3- Control quality of food production
4- Public land tenure is secure and may be secured by a government decree
5- Reduces the need for transportation of produce
6- Control price of the raw food products as they are planted on government owned land
These green towers act as food production multipliers. These are structures of trellises and platforms that are hung off of vertical cores, some enclosed in controlled environments and others are not. These stacked surfaces produce a new ecology. These multiplied vertical spaces are organized to take advantage of the progressive shading of the space by layers of vegetation and mesh. In this way varying ecosystems and weather conditions are created within the vertical farms.
Beirut will in this case increase its green space by 60% and start allowing access to healthy food to become more equitable if this is a long term government initiative and extensively reintroduce urban farming in Beirut.
Yet the cons of vertical farming are extensive and these include a large initial investment in planning and construction in a addition to a continuous energy cost to run these structures. Yet towers of green eruptions of vegetables and fruit in Beirut’s urban-scape, and a skyline of farmed skyscrapers make the images posted here seem even more exciting to me.
What do you think of skyscrapers of public farming spaces shared by the city in all our 'public' spaces?