Mainstream agricultural practices have a few major problems in need of innovative solutions. For one, industrial farming practices are hard on the environment. Farms emitted 6 billion tons of greenhouse gases in 2011, or about 13 percent of total global emissions. That makes the agricultural sector the world’s second-largest emitter, after the energy sector. Additionally, 38 percent of the world’s total land area was used for agriculture in 2007 and agriculture is responsible for over 70 percent of global freshwater consumption.
On top of that, the way we grow our food now is not sustainable to feed a growing global population, which is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050. We'd have to use more land, more environmentally harmful farming practices and ship more food across continents and the globe, particularly to reach people in concentrated urban centers. In short, it's not realistic. And facing this fact, we have to come up with better solutions.
Swedish company Plantagon believes they may have found an answer. The company has developed plans for "plantscrapers," massive vertical greenhouses meant for growing large-scale organic farms in cities, using less energy and and a smaller carbon footprint than the way we grow food now.