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24 F U T U R E C I T Y E D U C AT O R H A ND B O O K

Case Studies
Urban Fish and Vegetable Farms
Imagine transforming a run-down abandoned factory into a
three-tiered, bio-intensive, simulated wetland. Thats just what
Sweet Water Foundation has done in Chicago and Milwaukee.
Sweet Water Foundation lled one 6.5 acre building complex
with sh tanks that hold 80,000 pounds of perch and tilapia.
But thats not all. On top of the sh tanks, Sweet Water is
growing lettuce, watercress, tomatoes, chard, spinach and other
produce. Sweet Water developed a hydroponic system where
the by-products from the aquaculture are ltered out by the
plants as vital nutrients, after which the clean water is
re-circulated back to the animals.
Vertical Farming
At rst glance, this may look like a typical skyscraper. But
on closer inspection, you would see that this is a living
skyscraper, a proposed building concept that combines living
space with urban agriculture, growing crops such as peppers,
lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, peas, spinach, even peach, cherry,
and apple trees. Designed to be situated on the shores of Lake
Michigan, this proposed vertical farm contains a closed water
system, which takes in fresh water from the lake and sends
it throughout the building
to be used and reused in a
continuous loop. Some crops
will grow in soil, others will
thrive in hydroponic systems.
What little waste water there
is gets ltered and safely
returned to Lake Michigan. This
urban farm is also designed
to collect methane and
carbon dioxide by-products in
a bio-gas digester, which is
then processed and used for
heating. Energy efciency is
aided by a pair of windmills
and arrays of solar panels.
According to the designers,
some of the advantages of vertical farming include:
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fertilizers;
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composting non-edible parts of plants and animals;
0|oaoticoll] |eJuces ussil uel use ,ru t|octu|s u| uluws, orJ,
C|eotes rew eaulu]aert uuuu|turities.
Rooftop Farming
In 2011, Lufa Farms built the worlds rst commercial rooftop
greenhouse. Just two years later, they can envision their city of
Montreal, Canada full of rooftop farms. Through innovation and
technology, Lufa Farms is striving to change the way cities eat.
Their prototype 31,000 square foot farm feeds approximately
2,000 people. Efciency and economics are the two key factors
that drive the farmers and engineers at Lufa Farms. They
capture rainwater and recirculate 100% of it through their
system, so they dont load the municipal drainage system or add
agricultural runoff to nearby lakes and rivers. They grow all of
their produce hydroponically and use only biological pesticides,
herbicides, and fungicides. They use transparent energy curtains
to help insulate the greenhouse, thus reducing the need to heat
the facility at night. And, their distribution system is similar to a
member-based CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) serving
customers who live and work near the greenhouse. Because
Lufa Farms delivers to only a handful of drop-points around the
city, harvests the produce on the same day its delivered, and
minimizes packaging, they signicantly reduce the energy that
is traditionally used to package, ship, refrigerate, and store the
produce found in an average supermarket.
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25 WR I T E T H E R E S E A R C H E S S AY
Competition Checklist

Include the name of your city on each page of
your Research Essay. Remember, your future city
name needs to remain consistent throughout the
competition.

Place the word count at the end of the essay.
The word count does not include the title and
reference list, but does include captions of
graphics and illustrations. A maximum of four
graphics/illustrations are allowed.

Use a variety of sources of information for
research, such as interviews with experts,
reference books, newspaper and magazine
articles, and websites (Wikipedia is not accepted).
Be sure to attach a list of at least three sources
and use the Modern Language Association (MLA)
format. Go to www.futurecity.org /resources to
download a MLA reference template.

Make a copy of the Research Essay and Reference
List to keep with your records.

Upload your Research Essay to www.futurecity.
org. An email with upload instructions will be sent
to you shortly before the submission due date.
Find your regions submission deadlines
at www.futurecity.org. Click on Find My
Region and view the online calendar.
Check Progress
As students develop their essays, invite them to reect on the
process and evaluate their solutions (this process will help
prepare them for the judges questions). Point out interesting
ideas, creative thinking, and effective teamwork. Here are some
questions to help guide discussion.
w|ot |eseo|c| |os |eer |eluul ir urJe|storJir
agricultural issues and designing your solution?
w|e|e JiJ ]uu et irsui|otiur u| ]uu| sulutiur
w|ot o|e t|e irterJeJ |erets u ]uu| sulutiur
w|ot t|oJeus cuae wit| ]uu| sulutiur
|uw |os t|e Jesir u|ucess |eer |eluul tu ]uu
w|ot |o.e ]uu leo|reJ o|uut ]uu|sel orJ ]uu| teoaaotes
during this process?
w|ot |o.e ]uu leo|reJ o|uut eriree|ir t|ot ]uu JiJr't
know before?
Research Essay RubricHave students review the rubric on
pages 2829 and evaluate their Essay using the same questions
the judges do.
The competition has given me confidence and
the knowledge that as a girl, I can contribute
just as much as the boys on the team.
Rachel L., Texas Student Team Member

26 F U T U R E C I T Y E D U C AT O R H A ND B O O K
Competition Scoring
Teams can earn up to 60 points for their Research Essay.
Make sure students have thoroughly covered the ve
categories to maximize points:
Dene the Problem 6 points
Specs and Solution 15 points
Understand Engineering Roles 6 points
Judge Assessment of Solution 15 points
Writing Skills 18 points
Total 60 points
Scoring Deductions
510 points Late submissions may be accepted with a penalty.
Check with your Regional Coordinator before the
deadline to nd out if this is an option in your
region.
10 points Be sure to check your word count and do not
exceed 1,000 words.
Resources
Use these online and print resources to help students launch
their own research. Links to these resources are available at
www.futurecity.org.
AGRICULTURAL TIMELINES:
http://www.agclassroom.org/gan/timeline/farm_tech.htm
http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blfarm1.htm
http://www.robinsonlibrary.com/agriculture/agriculture/history/
timeline.htm
http://www.agclassroom.org/gan/timeline/
THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON AGRICULTURE
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/02/05/
climate-change-agriculture-study/1893455/
http://www.monitor.co.ug/Magazines/Farming/How-climate-
change-affects-farming-practices/-/689860/1872914/-/lh-
mawoz/-/index.html
http://www.pnas.org/content/104/50/19691.long
THE BENEFITS AND/OR IMPORTANCE
OF URBAN AGRICULTURE
http://www.good.is/posts/ve-reasons-why-urban-farming-is-
the-most-important-movement-of-our-time
http://www.ruaf.org/node/513
EXAMPLES OF URBAN FARMS
http://inhabitat.com/hundreds-of-vacant-detroit-lots-to-be-
come-worlds-largest-urban-farm/
http://inhabitat.com/edible-austrian-pavilion-scoops-rst-
runner-up-for-the-2015-milan-expo/
http://www.verticalfarm.com/
http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/arti-
cle/0,28804,1934027_1934003_1933961,00.html
http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/conservation/
issues/vertical-farming.htm
http://content.time.com/time/magazine/arti-
cle/0,9171,1826271,00.html
http://urbanharvest.org/
http://lufa.com/en/
http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/
photos/urban-farming/
I learned that engineers play a big role
in the production of a city.
Caroline Z., Chicago Student Team Member
27 WR I T E T H E R E S E A R C H E S S AY
GREENHOUSE & HYDROPONIC LINKS
http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_circulars/circ556.html
http://ag.arizona.edu/ceac/
http://ag.arizona.edu/ceac/sites/ag.arizona.edu.ceac/les/
pls217nbCH5_1.pdf
http://www.howardresh.com/Articles-news.html
http://www.cornellcea.com/resourcesPublications/grower-
sHandbooks/lettuce.html
GENERAL AND HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
http://content.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1913033,00.
html
http://blogs.worldwatch.org/nourishingtheplanet/
ASABE Resource Magazine, March/April 2013, Controlled
Environment Agriculture
http://bt.e-ditionsbyfry.com/publication/?i=148288&p=4
http://www.asabe.org/
Popular Science, August 2009, The Future of Farming: Eight
Solutions for a Hungry World
http://www.popsci.com/environment/article/2009-07/8-farming
-solution-help-stop-world-hunger
https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/attractions/epcot/
living-with-the-land/
VIDEOS
The Future of Farming
http://www.uctv.tv/farming/
Ted Talk: Mohamed Hage of Lufa Farms
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSQm09twKEE
Food Forward: Pilot Episode, Urban Farming Across America
http://video.pbs.org/video/2276862085/
Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture & Food Security. A list of
videos and slideshows on urban agriculture.
http://www.ruaf.org/node/1527 RUAF
GOOGLE WORD SEARCH SUGGESTIONS
Urban Farms
Urban Agriculture
Vertical Farms
Rooftop Gardens
Food Security
Food Safety
Food Technology
Aquaculture
Hydroponic
Aquaponics
Container Gardening
Agricultural Engineering (or Bioresource Engineering)
Biosystems Engineering
The Future of Farming
Climate Change and Agriculture