By 2050, the world’s population is estimated to reach 9.7 billion people. Already, 795 million people go to bed hungry each evening. Catching up to – and alleviating – the problem of world hunger won’t be easy, but the task might be realised sooner if innovative tree-shaped vertical farms are invested in and constructed in the future.

According to Fast CoExist, the Urban Skyfarm is a giant skyscraper that was designed to mimic the look of a tree. Conceptualised byAprilli Design Studio, the trunk is an indoor hydroponics farm for greens. Where leaves would be, lightweight decks are constructed to grow plenty of fruit and vegetables. At the top of the structure are solar panels and wind turbines; which arerenewable energy structures that can generate enough energy to power the entire operation!

In addition to growing 24 acres-worth of fruit and vegetables, the Urban Skyfarm can also capture rainwater and filter it through a constructed wetland before returning it to a nearby stream. It really is one of the freshest designs we have so far seen!

Architects Steve Lee and See Yoon Park say:“Our version of the vertical farm was intended to become an independent, open-to-air structure which would be purely focusing on farming activities and sustainable functions such as generating renewable energy and performing air, and water filtration.”

The first Urban Skyfarm is envisioned to be developed in downtown Seoul, South Korea: “It seemed to be an ideal place to test out our prototype since the specific area is very dense and highly active and has been suffering for a long time by all sorts of environmental problems resulting from rapid urbanisation.”

“With the support of hydroponic farming technology, the space could efficiently host more than 5,000 fruit trees. Vertical farming is more than an issue of economical feasibility, since it can provide more trees than average urban parks, helping resolve urban environmental issues such as air pollution, water run-off and heat island effects, and bringing back balance to the urban ecology.”

And it gets even better… When the Urban Skyfarm is constructed, arrangements will be provided for community gardens, park space, and even a farmers market to meet the demand for fresh, local food in the city. Seoul, South Korea is the ideal place for the first Urban Skyfarm to be developed, as fresh apples can cost more than $20 at some supermarkets. In addition, the country has already begun investing in vertical farming; therefore, the skyscraper busting with greenery is likely to be well-received.

Lee and Park conclude:“We believe there will be more attention and discussions of vertical farms as the 2015 Milan Expo approaches, and we hope the Urban Skyfarm can become part of the discussion as a prototype proposal. Vertical farming really is not only a great solution to future food shortage problems but a great strategy to address many environmental problems resulting from urbanisation.”