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Clemson University institute to study 'vertical farming' feasibility in Charleston, S.C.
Date:5/11/2011

CLEMSON, S.C. Clemson University's Institute of Applied Ecology received EPA funding to develop a design-feasibility study to build a "vertical farm" in downtown Charleston.

The study, being done in collaboration with Clemson's Centers of Economic Excellence in Urban Ecology and Sustainable Development and the city of Charleston, will evaluate the repurposing of an existing building to house a vertical farm, powering it with solar and wind energy and using enhanced cyberinfrastructure and environmental informatics to monitor and operate the farm by incorporating the Intelligent River cyberinfrastructure network that will provide real-time remote-data acquisition.

As the world's population increases, developing farmable land will be a challenge. One option is to farm vertically instead of horizontally. Dense urban centers would have multistory buildings with floor atop floor of fruits and vegetables grown in highly environmentally efficient ways, such as using hydroponics and aeroponics.

Clemson University has formed an interdisciplinary team to conduct the analysis, which focuses on agriculture, horticulture, green building and the architectural potential of available sites that will be considered for a vertical farm location. Research elements will focus on water and energy self-sufficiency by incorporating elements of alternative energy sources and gray water collection and reuse; green-roof and vertical garden technologies; sustainable production of high-quality organic foods within a reduced urban footprint; enhanced hydroponics; rooftop and vertical wetlands for urban farmwater quality treatment; and multilevel community-based sustainable development education.

"This is an exciting opportunity for Charleston, EPA, Clemson and its collaborators," said Gene Eidson, director of Clemson's urban ecology center. "To plan and design a vertical farm calls for an array of resources. There are so many topics to be addressed; ever
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Contact: Gene Eidson
geidson@clemson.edu
864-710-0882
Clemson University
Source:Eurekalert

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