What Do We Do Now? w. Robert Reich
February 4, 2017
Reading and Suing
February 18, 2017
Show all

Vertical Farming/Hemp Farming

Ralph talks to Dickson Despommier about “vertical farming,” how to raise farm crops in tall inner-city buildings.  And hemp lobbyist, Eric Steenstra, tells us about his ongoing efforts to convince Congress to make hemp farming legal.

dr dickerson


Dr. Dickson Despommier is a microbiologist, an ecologist, and emeritus professor of Public and Environmental Health at Columbia University. For twenty-seven years, he conducted research on cellular and molecular parasitism and held lectures and courses on Parasitic Disease, Medical Ecology and Ecology. From one of these courses, he founded the root for his idea of raising crops in tall buildings; vertical farming. In 2010, he published his widely received book: The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century.

Eric Steenstra


For the past decade, Eric Steenstra has been the Executive Director of the Hemp Industries Association, a non-profit trade association representing businesses, farmers, researchers and investors working with industrial hemp.  In 2000, Mr. Steenstra pioneered the cofounding of Vote Hemp of which he remains President.  Under his leadership, Vote Hemp has become the nation’s foremost hemp lobbying organization, working towards full re-commercialization of industrial hemp.


  1. Mike Hingle says:

    Solar & Wind power systems costs 1000s times more than many demonstrated safe over unity energy systems
    that produce energy 24 hours a day, all year long, without the need to wait for sunny days or sufficient winds.

  2. Phillip Fujiyoshi says:

    I can’t believe you swallowed hook, line, and sinker the infomercial for vertical farming. Not even a mention of the investment by Goldman Sachs set off any alarm bells. It sounds to me like this type of farming is highly capitalized, dependent on expensive urban real estate and infrastructure investment. It would be a great way to serve high-value perishable commodities to high-end consumers, turning a nice profit for its corporate owners, but it will do nothing to feed the food-insecure.

    You should interview Eric Holt-Gimenez, eholtgim@foodfirst.org, on agroecology, Ivette Perfecto, perfecto@umich.edu, on food sovereignty, or Peter Rosset, rosset@globalalternatives.org, on Zero-Budget Natural Farming, http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/HKAecYKfneKRsfE4c6xn/full, if you want to find out how people of the world can feed themselves.

  3. Patrick Matthew McCormack says:

    Howdy Ralph,

    Keep your eyes open for an manuscript coming out in the journal “Nature” with the title “photons, physiology and food”. Supposedly, the article will be available 2-3 months from now.

    Why Vertical Farming Won’t Save the Planet

  4. Patrick Matthew McCormack says:

    Excellent show! Many thanks.

  5. Is Hemp Farming legal in NY and CT? With such high land taxes likely this could save the farm for many people. Who would purchase home grow hemp?
    Thanks for all you do Mr. Nader.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.