The Dragonfly: A high rise farm of the future

Can you imagine taking an elevator ride to your local apple orchard?

Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut has designed a futuristic self-sustaining, twin-towered high- rise complex that would bring organic farming right to the heart of the New York City.

The 132-floor urban farm has been aptly named “Dragonfly” for its unique glass-and-steel wings that stretch into the sky, according to AFP.  Designed to be built on Roosevelt Island --a narrow strip of land in New York City's East River-- the complex would provide urban farming space with enough room to raise cattle and poultry and 28 different types of crops.

At the bottom of the complex, there would be a floating market on the East River for growers to sell their organic produce.

According to Callebaut, each building would be self-sufficient and act as a mini-power station. Energy is harvested from the sun and wind to heat and cool the building; in the winter, hot air is trapped between the building's outer wing, and during the summer ventilation and transpiration from plant growth keep it cool. Plants along the exterior of the structure would also capture rainwater and then re-circulate domestic waste as fertilizer.

"The goal is to bring agriculture and nature back into the urban core so that by 2050...we have green, sustainable cities where humans live in balance with their environment," Callebaut told AFP an interview from his studio in Paris.  He hopes to cut down on the amount of food needed to be trucked from all over world to feed the growing population of big urban centers like New York City, which puts a strain on natural resources and the environment.

While Callebaut's idea may seem like something out of a sci-fi flick, the concept of vertical farming is gaining traction with increasing urbanization around the globe. Pasona Urban Farm,  a nine-story office building in Tokyo, lets employees to grow their own food in specially reserved green spaces.

Callebut, who recently exhibited the Dragonfly at an international fair in China, has yet to find a U.S. buyer for his concept. He's got another idea for a "farmscraper" in Shenzhen, China that will have food gardens, housing, offices, leisure space all mixed together in one space.