Why I create pop-up farms in my city | Roman Gaus | TEDxZurich

Why I create pop-up farms in my city | Roman Gaus | TEDxZurich

Translator: Cultura da Liberdade
Reviewer: Denise RQ About a year ago, I decided
to become a farmer, an urban farmer, and as Tim mentioned, I had nothing to do with agriculture
in my previous life. And about all the things
I could have possibly imagined doing in the future,
farming was not one of them. Topic of today, “Urban Farming.” I think there’s a reason
why farming can have a more prevalent
and more promising future. First of all, we’ll be
9 billion people pretty soon, and something happens,
something very important happens, 70% of us, the majority of us,
will live in cities. So it could make a lot of sense growing food for people
where they are going to live: in the city. But most importantly,
we will be so many more people we need about 100% more food
from today to tomorrow. One hundred percent more. Some people say
this is the most efficient system, this is the most recurrent system
the cheapest system, this is how we do it. But I have to ask you;
now as a farmer, fellow farmer: how much money are you making? And you’re using all the fossil fertilizer
which is made out of oil, and we know what’s going
to happen to oil, using all these pesticides,
and fungicides, and herbicides; using all this water,
and all this fuel for transportation. Did you know that the vegetables
you buy in your store have traveled on average 2,000 kilometers
before they get into your store? How can that be efficient?
And efficient to whom? Maybe to the transportation industry
but certainly not to the farmer, and certainly not to the consumer,
and certainly not to the environment. Not surprisingly, if you look
at our overall footprint, the way we consume food today
weighs the heaviest on our total environmental footprint. Food is more important
than housing, energy, or water, or private transportation; it’s the biggest impact
on your environmental footprint. So small differences can already
have a huge impact on this scale. There are already a lot of people
who are farming in the city. It’s not a new phenomenon. Look at this picture here;
this is taken from a farm in Brooklyn. You are looking out from the rooftop
of a building into Manhattan. And on this farm, people are farming; they are farming their own food
you can buy it downstairs in the shop. There are other more
creative ways to farm, right? Like this! I love these guys: Truck Farm. All right, so, “Honey, please hop into
the car, but don’t crash the salads, or nothing to eat.” We were asking ourselves:
how can we hack ourselves into the city? How can we put farming
on the urban Google map? We could start by taking this parking lot. We could say, all right,
instead of the upper level, the 40 parking lots
that we have on this building, let’s put that into a greenhouse. Instead of the 40 parking lots,
we could grow enough food for 500 people year in, year out. So, those 40 of you who took
the car to work, take the bus. We’ll grow now food.
This could be important. Of course, there are many approaches
to this, and I think we need to look at solutions that are really productive,
and scalable, et cetera, and have all the means
to actually achieve something. So, as I said, about a year ago,
I discovered that there are farmers in the city using
new, innovative technologies, which would allow them
to grow food without soil. I said, “Food without soil,
how can you grow without soil?” Well, apparently it is possible and some even use
a technology called aquaponics, which allows them to grow fish
and vegetables in a closed-loop system. Basically, this is a technology – and by the way, this comes out
of a research lab in Waedenswil, of all places, Waedenswil,
the Harvard of vegetable growers. They have developed this kind of stuff. So, here it goes: the fish basically provide
the nutrients for the plants. So the fish urine basically is used as organic fertilizer for the plants. And the plants basically take up
these nutrients, they filter the water, they clear the water,
and release it back to the fish. So it’s a natural symbiosis
between fish and plants. I brought one of these farms here,
and you can see what it can grow. you can grow salads, you can grow herbs,
you can grow all kinds of vegetables; can grow tomatoes, peppers,
aubergines, melons, you name it. The system is very resource-efficient. We use about 90% less water
than conventional agriculture; we have everything in a closed-loops
so is very resource-efficient, and we lose virtually little waste. At the beginning, people asked me, “Well, Roman, do these fish wear
any nanosensors? I said, “No! They’re not.” “But what are you going to do
when you harvest the fish? What are you going to do with the fish?” “It’s very easy! We eat them.” Think about this, the freshest produce,
directly from your roof onto your plate. You’re going to have fish
harvested just minutes ago, on your plate from the roof. How great is that? Oceans are over-fished,
now we’re bringing the fish into the city. Of course, if you looking at it and say, how can we scale this,
how we present this to people? We start by building
miniature farms, small urban farms. We’re using recycled cargo containers
and greenhouses; on top, you would have the vegetables; inside the cargo container,
you would have the fish. Really what we want to do here is prove the point
that this is about self-sufficiency. A family of three can basically live on vegetable and protein consumption
off a box like this. So, small communities,
schools, restaurants, groups of people can go get together
and grow their own food. But our vision, our aspiration
is of course, to still provide large quantities of food, urban farming. We are setting out these projects,
and this is actually a real project that you are looking at
currently, in the city of Basel. It is a small project, a pilot project. Well, we are already there, we can grow about five tons of vegetables
and about 800 kilograms of fish year in, year out,
on that, otherwise, vacant rooftop. it’s food for about 100 people. And as we did this study and this project,
we found out in the city of Basel alone there’s two million square meter
of idle rooftop space. And by using just 5% of that
would yield harvest for 40,000 people. So it’s a lot of potential
to grow food in the city. I’d like to close with three remarks. First of all, the time is right: I think we need to consider food security. Secondly, we are at the tipping point,
the environment cannot be scaled anymore, we need to think
of solutions that are better; and thirdly, we can grow food in the city. So next time when you see
one of those empty rooftops in your city, image what it would be like
to produce fresh food in the city, like good food, from the roof. Thank you very much. (Applause)

Comments (33)

  1. This is a new version. Since Youtube doesn't allow replacement in place we were not able to preserve your comments. (TEDxZurich editor)

  2. We do not need to make 100% more food.We need to stop supporting 1 billion livestock on this planet.There is as much as 40% of total land area being taken up by agriculture.We could use a small fraction of that number and still be able to easily feed everyone on this planet.meat consumption will have to decrease,no matter which way you wing it-wild game hunting will not be sustainable.If every American went vegan 2 days a week,we could feed the 60 million who will be famished this year.GO VEGAN!

  3. Oh, and another thing, vegetables are not NEARLY as inefficient as the means necessary for transporting and preserving meat. No comparison.

  4. The main theoretical limitations afaik are the amount of sunlight available per square meter (approx 2190 kWh/m2/year), the inefficiencies of photosynthesis (typically 3%-6% max in ideal lab conditions), and the caloric requirements to feed a human (3000 kcal).

    The production estimate numbers he cites seem way too high.
    At a liberal 3% photosynthesis efficiency, you'd need at least 19.4 square meters of sunlight to harvest enough calories to feed 1 person (Basically a 4.4m square, minimum).

  5. and that's ignoring SO MANY inefficiencies, like digestion.
    I'd say the actual figure would be at least an order of magnitude worse than my best case scenario.

  6. If it's true this is a closed-loop system, that's very cool.

    I take issue with the eating local movement, though. If it were more efficient, growing local would be cheaper. When I compare prices, that isn't the case. It may well be that it's more efficient when you consider environmental effects, but there are countless poor who don't have the luxury of worrying about their carbon footprint.

    I'm also curious about the part where people who used to park in the garage can now take a bus. Harsh.

  7. Still – some form of fertilizer must be used. And I'm not sure how sustainable its production and transportation is…

  8. None of this is new. TED is supposed to push the boundaries and get people thinking in innovative and new ways. I know lots of people that have been urban farming for years. I don't get why this is a TED talk..maybe I'm missing something

  9. Where do fish used in an aquaponic system come from? Farms would be my first guess, but can someone shed some light?

  10. Why does a 50% larger population require 100% more food?

  11. Because we have to account for the 1 billion that today go to bed hungry, without having eaten. People will begin to live longer- There is a lot of waste from transitioning from rural living where the production usually happens, here is more waste under transport, and when people enter the middle class income group, they will begin to eat more meat. 1 kg of animal protein takes 4 kg of vegetable protein (dry weight) eggs. Beef it lots more, all the way up 18 kg of feed per one kilo produced. 🙂


  13. Time mark 7:32 "food for 100 people." While I appreciate the concepts here, the numbers do not even come close to adding up. 100 people at 1,500 calories per day at 365 days per year equals about 55 million calories per year. Even if 800 kg of fish were pure fat at 9 calories per gram, that would be only about 7 million calories per year. And 5 tons of veggies don't contribute any significant calories, a million or so at best. Gardening for calories is extremely difficult.

  14. I've seen info where the fish food is from duckweed, that easily grows in small pools in the same structures. Go to 2:05 in the video 'Farming in Da Hood' on Urban Farming Guys.

  15. Great Ted talk on urban farming, thanks!

  16. not all the food that is produced at the farm gets to the market in a saleable state

  17. It is also worth mentioning the urban-heat-island effect in the context of urban farming. Cities are hotter than countryside summer because plant evapourate water to keep themselves cool *gross oversimplification* The main problem with mixing plants and buildings is damp and maintenence (gardening) but I think more could be done to change this. Could we automate urban farming to reduce labour cost for example ?

  18. I agree with that idea and someday i will have my own urban garden .

  19. when you said aquaponics i thought about the magic closet

  20. Great: This is why humanities worst enemies fight it by evil laws and abuse of government powers and control They hate the worldpopulation growing – and do their very best – it's the first of their 10 Commandments chisseled in Georgian granite in 8 world languages –  to murder more than 90% of the world population, to reduce it to a maximum of 500 million people. Just google search: "Georgia Guide Stones."

    To murder us they invented the lie of VACCINATIONS, by which they inject us with all kinds of sicknesses, viruses, and poisons, so they guarantee future patients, which make them filthy rich while murdering us at the same time. Genius, right? Read Eastace Mullins book "MURDER by INJECTION" Download it for free:

    They invented PSYCHIATRY! This is an enormous crime against humanity! Based on… LIES! As Dr. Szasz wrote: "Pscyhiatry The Science of Lies!" (title of one of his books) Watch the video's of my playlist: "
    Exposing the crimes of MAFFIA Pharma-Psychiatry & the STATE!
    Start with: CCHR Co-Founder Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus  The next video's will start top play automatically.

    They organise wars. And profit by them enormously by financing all parties.

    They poison us by Geneticlly Manipulating = poisoning our food and Monopolizing it on top…because their criminal judges, these worst criminal clowns in black dresses performing their RUBBERSTAMPING circus, have allowed them to patent food. This is a hughe crime against humanity by this worst filth, this worst scumm, this worst vermin on the earth, the judges and judtices, these worst sons of vipers as Jesus Christ called them.

    And they lie to us about the environment. So, they hate more CO2 and therefore made CO2 into looking like a poison, through their media and entertainment industry, educational control etc. CO2 is PLANTFOOD! You get it? That is why these NWO powers hate more CO2, which is God's provision, and nature's way to provide for a growing world population!

    After the end of the articially created so called Cold War which cost the world trillions, (Read Eustace Mullins book "The 5 Trillion Cold War Hoax." Download it for free from:  ) which went straight into the pockets of these liars, these banksters who own – by treason of our governments – the US Federal Reserve Bank and most of the world's Central banks (after murdering Saddam and Ghadaffi for one reason: to get the Central banks of Iraq and Libya into their devilish claws…and now are working on getting the Central Banks from Syria and Iran and North Korea) , these banksters and their Club of Rome invented another enemy…which would be a war, like the war of terror and the hate speech new crime the Jews invented, but since they temselves are the worst guilty of hating the whole world with a demonic hatred, labeling all non-Jews animals that God made to be their slaves… etc etc. as taught the Jews in their most authoritative books, the Talmud, they have managed (how criminaly insane and treacherous our lawmakers are – to hell with them all. Do it Lord!) to make themselves excempt as so called 'victims.' And most Christians have been brainwashed to believe these sons of the devil as Jesus Christ called them (John 8: 44; read verse 32-59) are 'the Chosen People of God?!'

    Read: The Books by Jack Mohr


    Read all the articles by Jewish born and raised convert to Christ, brother Nathanael Kapner, and watch all his video's here on youtube.

    Read & watch all video's of Jewish born and raised convert to Christ, Benjamin Freedman. Start here:

    Shocking for most brainwashed Christians: Jesus was NOT a Jew:–benjamin.html

    The Bible is NOT a Jewish book:

    Okay back to the new enemy the Club of Rome invented: The people of the world have all been declared an enemy to the world by producing CO2 and thus causing so called 'Global Warming!"

    This lie guaranteed the people's willingness to allow more and more of their freedom, prosperity, productivity and LIFE to be robbed, because OF THIS LIEING ARGUEMENT: "If we waited until the lies were proven to be true (never) it would be too late for the planet to recover." This lie of people who are RED -SOCIALIST in dirty devil's character but look GREEN as they dressed the truth about themselves and their ideas in GREEN, have been swallowed by the Jewish controled governments of the world.


    CO 2 does NOT cause global warming! It is the other way around from the 'hokeystick' theory promoted by the devil Al Gore, who got an Oscar (this showsd you who controls the world, when liars are rewarded and honoured! Obama is no exception with his 'Nobel price for peace! WE DO NOT WANT OBAMA'S KIND OF PEACE, THAT IS WRITTEN ON GRAVESTONES ALL OVERV THE WORLD: "RIP – Requiem In Pace" Latin for: Rest In Peace. NO OBAMA, That kind of peace I am not ready for, but I wsh it for you befor you ruin the USA even further than you already have!)

    CO2 is plantfood and more CO2 is SUPER for the growing of food of a growing world population. Mind you: God commanded the people to multiply and subdue the arth. He never recalled this command! It is still His command.

    For video's that show the truth about the Environmental Issue, watch the video's of my playlist: "Climate change is natural. Global Warming is a Marxist lie"

    You may also start here:  Global Hoax  the next video's will start playing automatically.

    The consequences of people disobeying His command to multiply are becoming more and more visible!

    By the way, the crime of abortion already robbed the USA of the man God had planned to be the present president! Prophet Paul Jackson shares this. God told him that he had planned andother man to be the present president but he was aborted! God only knows how the world would have looked by now if we would not have aborted a single human being. The inventor of a cure for Alzheimer. The composer of.. The president of the USA etc. And possibly the woman God planned to be my wife? Enough. Tose in control of this world have to be removed. They are our worst enemies! WE will have to pray harder for God to do so. He did not give His children, the Christians, power to do it. This is why the world,does not take Christians seriously. We are allowed to bark but not to bite… This is hard, especially when God, Who has retained this power and task to Himself, keeps sitting on His hands as an impotent Omnipotent!

    He is waiting for the right moment. He is not limited by time. I am…we are… so we want Him to act now, especially when every 5 minutes one of His children – a Christian – is murdered for their faith in Christ every 5 minutes by the worst criminal organisation of the nation He instituted and gave it power: the government! He did so that it would represent Him on the earth, and rule, judge etc. as He is Spirit and not visible by our natural senses. (the effects of Him are visible – read Romans chapter 1 in the Bible) . But the governments motivated by all kids of ungodly motives, quickly became the worst enemies of the people!

  21. Great idea.
    Where does the fish food come from?
    This is the moment the idealism breaks down.
    Can such a biosphere also circuitously produce the fish food by use of human wastes, both consumer rubbish and bodily wastes?
    I think I will look into improving this system beyond the mere facade of sustainability and empty righteousness it currently wears.

  22. I wonder why they don't do rooftop farming it will help economicly and will provide fresh and nutritious food

  23. #GrowFoodWhereThePeopleLive I have loved this topic of rooftop gardens for some time now, and I love to hear another speaker present the value of this incredible topic.

  24. #powerfulJRE on #deathsquadTV

  25. LOL!  Feed 500 people on the space where 40 cars were parked?  LOL.  That's 12.5 per car.  Not gonna happen.

  26. LOL!  800 kg fish – food for 100 people! Even if fish were 800 kg dry, which they are not, that would be 32 million calories, or 32,000 calories per person.  At 2,000 cal/person/day, that is a 16 day supply of food calories.  The fish crop would have to turn over 22 times per year.  Your innumeracy is stunning!

  27. That's great, more nutrient depleted food. I firmly believe plants need the full nutrient spectrum from the soil and the soil life to thrive and give us adequate nutrition. I can't help but think this is just another reductionist solution, just like the green revolution was. Why not just grow plants on composted food waste directly from the city and didn't we want to get rid of the horrible confined feeding operations? Why are fish suddenly different? I don't want to eat a fish that has never seen something else but floating poop particulates and blank walls. Horrendous, just like factory pigs and chickens.

  28. IT'S NOT CLOSED LOOP! You still need to grow, process and transport all the feed for the fish. You can reduce your need of external resources by also growing algae to supplement fish feed, but even then it's not closed loop. They need to stop using that word so carelessly.

  29. yea get them yankees cleaning them fresh fish roflmdao

  30. My question would be, can you grow a diverse selection of fish, IE: can you raise shrimp, oysters, eel, or other fresh water shell fish?

  31. Finding about this only now. Dreaming about this in the past 5 years

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