Grow Up, Grow Smart: Sustainable Development Using Vertical Farms

Faculty Advisor: Lawrence Quill

Student Project Members:

  • Mohammad Beheshtaein
  • Jacob Deline
  • Craig Hyatt
  • Wilson Tsan
  • Chris Slafter

Our purpose is to examine, in the words of Thomas Friedman, what we can "do in response to the truly massive challenge that we face to preserve the natural world that has been bequeathed to us."1 San Jose State has a long history of innovation and progress. Our plan is to continue San Jose State University's history of innovation by growing vegetables and fruits on campus for use by the campus. We will utilize once unused land while taking advantage of sustainable practices. Our proposal is to begin with rooftop gardens and then progress to constructing a vertical farm on campus.

Our ultimate goal is to demonstrate the utility of vertical farms and develop their usage in San Jose and beyond. This urban farming technique offers many benefits including: sustainable farming techniques, low cost food production, a new sense of civic pride, more nutritious eating habits, and an innovative plan that could make SJSU and San Jose an even better place to live, work and play.

Beyond these benefits, we feel that urban farming offers San Jose a chance to systemically address the problems facing the environment and the community. We do not aim merely at a solution to fix an isolated problem. By asking San Jose to accept our proposal we are giving San Jose the opportunity to embark on a path of real change. Already, we have garnered support from Associated Students, Spartan Dining, and Professor Mathur. A change in behavior will go a long way toward finding solutions to our environmental problems. John Gardner, the founder of Common Cause, remarked that, "today's energy - climate challenge is a series of great opportunities disguised as insoluble problems".2

  1. Friedman, Thomas L. Hot, Flat, and Crowded. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York. 2008. Pg 397.
  2. Ibid. 170.