In recent weeks we have seen over 3 million acres of land burned on the west coast of the United States and for the second time in modern history, we have 5 tropical storms formed in the Atlantic. Some may say that this is just chance, but for many who are watching the environment, they can’t help but believe that these all too often occurrences are due to human impact on the environment. As we watch the world change before us, in more ways than one, there are those who are asking the question, “Can we make changes that can have a lasting impact?” Nona Yehia would say it is possible.
We know throughout history that wars have been fought over land and resources. Our environment is changing on a daily basis and we are finding a world that seems to be less hospitable to its inhabitants due to the lack of behavior change in order to help our planet be a healthier place. We continue to cut forests, rely on fossil fuels and use pesticides that end up as run off in our lakes and ponds and we are seeing the results of our poor behavior. The consequences are only going to get worse. Resources will become scarcer, temperatures will continue to climb and clean water will be harder to find unless we make changes. This is a Resource Dilemma. We consciously make the choice to continue to water our lawns and use up precious resources like they will always be there. (Gruman et al., 2017)
As we look to business and government to make a change in the world to value the planet over the all mighty dollar we are beginning to see leaders rise up from the crowd in a hope to make an impact in the world and their environment. A recent news article I saw out of Wyoming in the Chariton Newspaper online, told the story of an architect turned entrepreneur, Nona Yehia, who developed a business called Vertical Roots. The basic premise of the business was that it took a10th of an acre building and grows 10 acres of food in it. The building not only supplies readily available food to local residents and restaurants year round, it does it with no pesticides, zero water consumption and the owner even built the business around hiring those who are underserved in the community. This is a Social Dilemma or taking a space or building that is of little to no use for the good of mankind and turning it into something that is. (Gruman et al., 2017)
Vertical Harvest Farms in Wyoming has 42 employees. 25 of these employees are disabled in some way however, by working with Vertical Harvest Farms they are able to learn new skills and abilities. They no longer have a job but a career. (Vertical Harvest Farms, n.d.) Through her efforts she is changing her behavior and her communities’ behavior, which in turn, gives this out of the way place in Wyoming a sustainable resource that is helping the community thrive. This one building provides local foods for over 80 different businesses in 3 states. These businesses would normally not have this kind of access due to the location of the rural cities and towns. (Vertical Harvest Farms, n.d.)
It is thinking like that of Nona Yehia and her Co-Founders that will make the biggest impact to regain the ground we have lost in fighting the war on saving our environment. Vertical Harvest Farms is opening another facility in Maine in 2022 and gives information on how to start a Vertical Harvest facility on their website, verticalharvestfarms.com. (Vertical Harvest Farms, n.d.). To see how Vertical Harvest started and their first 15 months, check out the video Hearts of Glass. https://www.heartsofglassfilm.com/
The Chariton Newspapers. (2020, September 13). How a Wyoming farmer grows 10 acres of food on a tenth of an acre.
Vertical Harvest Farms. (n.d.). Fact sheet.
Gruman, J. A., Schneider, F. W. , &. Coutts, L.M. (Eds.). (2016). Applied social psychology: Understanding and addressing social and practical problems 3rd edition. SAGE Publications.