Faculty Profile

Dr. Dickson Despommier

A full-time professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Dickson Despommier, PhD, is also the director of the Vertical Farm Project which addresses issues related to urban agriculture, environmental disturbance, and the restoration of damaged ecosystems. The project was started in 1999 as a classroom activity in Dr. Despommier’s Medical Ecology course.

During the ten years that followed, numerous articles in the popular press (NY Science Times, Popular Science, New York Magazine, Time Magazine, Scientific American) and interviews on and radio and television shows (including the Colbert Report) have featured his concept of farming in buildings situated inside the city limits. So far, over 82 graduate students (mostly from the Mailman School of Public Health) have participated in generating a wealth of supportive studies that are posted on the vertical farm website.

Over the last several years, Dr. Despommier has been invited to speak at various national and international meetings on vertical farming:


  • Tall and Green Building Conference, Dubai;
  • Seoul Digital Forum, Seoul, Korea;
  • PoPTech, Camden, Maine
  • Taste3, Napa Valley, California;
  • Indian Institute of Architecture, Bangalore, India;
  • F.E.E.D., Pune, India;
  • PINC, Amsterdam, Holland;
  • Green Building Council Annual Meeting, New York City;
  • Construction Standards Institute annual meeting, New York;
  • Secret Science Club, Brooklyn, New York;
  • National Building Museum, Washington, D.C.;
  • Big Idea, New York;
  • TED, Long Beach, California.


In addition, the United States Agency for International Aid (USAID) has become interested in fostering vertical farming in Jordan. Other places in which vertical farms are being considered include: Las Vegas, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Seattle, Shanghai, Paris, Surrey, B.C., Toronto, Ontario, Dubai, Abu Dhabi.

Links to other articles:

December 18th, 2008

  • Vertical Farm featured on the December issue of Time magazine

December 14th, 2008

October 1st, 2008