Dickson D. Despommier, a professor of environmental health sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, discussed vertical farms, the agriculture for the 21st century, at the NJIT Technology and Society Forum Series
yesterday. Vertical urban farms could help to repair many of the world's damaged ecosystems and moderate global climate change, says Despommier. Social benefits include fostering a sustainable urban environment that encourages good health, new employment opportunities, fewer abandoned lots and buildings, cleaner air, and an abundant supply of safe drinking water. Despommier's lecture drew a large number of community organizers, including Newark Councilman Donald M. Payne, City of Newark Sustainability Officer Chelsea Arbusher, and Greater Newark Conservancy Executive Director Robin Dougherty, in addition to representatives from the Trust for Public Land, Newark Public Schools, Rutgers University and the Ironbound Community Corporation.