Photograph of a Greensense vertical farm cultivating organic lettuce.
Climate change poses a threat to the production of crops throughout the United States, including South Bend, Indiana. As such, I plan to evaluate if urban agricultural methods are more environmentally sustainable and weather resilient for the growth of local vegetable crops than conventional agricultural methods, and whether they can be effectively implemented in the city of South Bend or not.
To do this, I will analyze the effects that climate change will have on South Bend using various climate models. This will help me assess what obstacles will threaten the growth of vegetable crops in the future, such as temperature and precipitation. The three types of urban agriculture that I will review are urban farming, window farming, and vertical farming. I plan to review the feasibility of creating such urban agricultural systems from an engineering perspective. This includes reviewing the build effectivity, economic feasibility, and energy efficiency of the three different systems.
To gain a perspective on urban farming, I plan to consult with different urban farm organizations in South Bend, particularly Unity Gardens and Blessed Jaggerstatter Farm. To gain a perspective on vertical farming, I plan to consult with Greensense, an organization that is currently constructing a vertical farm in South Bend and that owns one in Portage. To gain a perspective on window farming, I will review the several ones that have gained attraction in New York City. After reviewing the most effective type(s) of urban farming, I will design and implement it or them in the city of South Bend. This will require speaking with different organizations (businesses, farms, government, non-profits) that seek to promote food sustainability in South Bend. My capstone is designed to promote a more resilient food production system in South Bend that is organic and locally based.