Plants don't have millions of years to adapt to indoor hydroponic growth cycles, so botanists must select and breed the strains that perform best. Other scientists will blend specialized fertilizers for the plants so that they'll contain micronutrients essential to the human diet, like selenium and zinc. Graham Murdoch
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Turbines

Vertical-axis wind turbines are potentially 50 percent more efficient in low wind conditions than conventional turbines.

Elevators

Farmers load harvested plants onto a central elevator to be sold at the grocery store below.

Monitors

Ceiling-mounted systems monitor and control humidity, temperature, and nutrient distribution.

Robots

Robotic arms equipped with mechanical noses “sniff” plants and harvest them based on the presence of specific alcohols, a more precise judge of ripeness than color.

Optimal Crops

Plants don’t have millions of years to adapt to indoor hydroponic growth cycles, so botanists must select and breed the strains that perform best. Other scientists will blend specialized fertilizers for the plants so that they’ll contain micronutrients essential to the human diet, like selenium and zinc.

Security

Even a few insects or pathogens could decimate the enclosed crops, so farmers entering the building must don containment suits and pass through airlocks. Scientists will coat plants with genetically modified bacteria that glow in the presence of a threatening disease or pest, alerting farmers to an outbreak.

Meat

Raising cattle is inefficient—only 3 percent of the energy used to raise a cow ends up as protein on your plate. Instead, scientists will cultivate slabs of meat in the lab from chicken, pig or cow stem cells raised on a diet of water, glucose and natural proteins. To approximate the texture of meat, they will “exercise” the muscle with electrical pulses. The fatty texture of a porterhouse is too complex to replicate, but sausage and chicken nuggets should be routine in a decade.

Lighting

LED bulbs save energy and can be tuned to the specific wavelengths favored by each species (only red for lettuce, for example).

Chicken

Chickens require little space and yield one pound of meat per two pounds of feed—very efficient by farming standards.

Sewage

The vertical farm converts 100 tons of sewage into 19 megawatts of electricity.

Market

Neighbors purchase vertical-farm goods in the tower’s ground-floor grocery store, and electric trucks deliver food to local markets.

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