Rooftop gardening

Thinking space nature

Bountiful harvests

Multi-storey vegetable gardens? New means of growing food in the cities are being explored. And, precise breeding methods could make food plants even more productive.

Rooftop gardening

City of farmers

To feed a growing world population, larger areas of land will need to be farmed. That would harm nature even further. We could, however, grow fruits and vegetables and even cereals in the city. This would also have the benefit of avoiding long transport routes. Crops are already being cultivated on rooftops and in empty buildings. At the same time, elaborate concepts for multi-storey indoor farms are being developed. Vertical farming promises to provide bountiful harvests all year round because indoors plants can be grown under controlled conditions – protected from aridity, floods, frost and pests. But not all plants can be cultivated this way and energy consumption is high.

From the Lab to the Field

People have been altering crops in order to harvest enough food since the beginning of agriculture. This is called plant breeding. The current tools at hand range from near-natural crossbreeding, which takes a lot of time, to “classic” genetic engineering, which is currently facing criticism. Today, there is increased pressure to develop new robust plant varieties quickly because the demand for food is growing and climatic conditions are changing fast. New biotechnological methods could help but they are still controversial because the consequences cannot yet be fully assessed. What risks are we willing to take?