Vertical farming startup presents at the World Food Prize

DES MOINES, Iowa — The future of farming is on the rise through a new kind of vertical farming.

Nick Starling, the founder of Skyscraper Farms, said his goal is to have farm-to-table food in less than five hours for anybody living within 75 miles. The company presented its ideas for the World Food Prize at the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium.


Skyscraper farms are 52-story greenhouses that allow farmers to produce food in a controlled environment. They are able to grow food without using pesticides and fungicides, and they don't even need to use soil.

Starling said Skyscraper Farms use 99 percent less water than field farming.

"Food, energy and water. We're able to do up to 20 harvests a year for food. Energy wise, we're energy neutral. We're able to put energy back on the grid. And water. We're using 90 percent less water than field agriculture," Starling told WHO-TV.

Starling hopes to begin building smaller 40-foot versions of the Skyscraper Farm in rural areas across America beginning next summer.