To date, urban farming has primarily taken place at a small scale and on rooftops, writes Jennifer Alsever. However, large-scale indoor facilities, such as the "Vertical Farms" advocated by Dickson Despommier, may be better equipped to meet rising demand for locally grown, organic food. The highly controlled environments of indoor farms offer higher yields per square foot, inspiring experimental ventures in cities throughout the country, according to Alsever.
Some critics are skeptical as to whether the new model is fiscally sustainable, given the significant amount of electricity it requires. The author quotes Bruce Bugbee, a professor of crop physiology at Utah State University:
"Scores of companies have tried to do this, even the big guys like General Mills fifteen years ago. It's too expensive. People don't realize how much light it takes to grow plants."