After serving as an Army Ranger, Nick Starling protected Diplomats in Iraq as a contracted Counter-Assassination Specialist for the U.S. Department of State and now he's the world’s leading vertical farming economist. I was very proud to welcome Nick Starling into my Des Moines studio!
He was invited to present at the World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa to show off his new design for vertical farming, which he aptly calls Skyscraper Farm. Nick points to this design as being a solution for not just urban sustainable agriculture but for agriculture anywhere in the world.
The indoor farms use aeroponics to recycle the water used for the plants, but that's not actually the clever part. Nick knows many companies have tried and failed in vertical farming, which is why his patented building structure design makes the difference. The patent-pending corkscrew design allows maximum light into the building even at lower levels and LEDs as a light supplement when sufficient sunlight is not available.
His design is said to use potentially 99 percent less water than horizontal farm and in theory, could provide larger harvests and more sustainable farming solution for the future. Skyscraper farm will include condos, offices, restaurants and potentially retail like grocery stores.
Having a premium grocer on the ground floor means shoppers could go up to the vertical farm to pick their own produce or have it freshly picked within minutes of ordering it.
His first challenge of rolling this out on a massive scale is finding someone to fund the project and to prove it can be financially viable. Skyscraper Farm is currently in the permitting process in Virginia to build the company’s first structure.