WHAT IS VERTICAL FARMING?
Vertical Farming or vertical agriculture facilitates viable agricultural production inside buildings, in the metropolitan areas of our cities. Vertical Farming is therefore a form of urban agriculture.
Newest findings are used to facilitate sustainable agriculture and the mass production of vegetable products inside of buildings. Because we are able to stack plantings, we are building vertically. Every square meter of floor space of vertical farming produces approximately the same amount of vegetable crops as 50 square meters of conventionally worked farm land. A vertical farm is able to use 95% less water, because it is recycled. Because our production is indoors, we need virtually no herbicides and pesticides. Vertical Farming makes the year-round cultivation of food possible and adaptable to a variety of crops. The primary focus of all functions in and around vertical farming is on optimal plant growth while maximizing the use of natural resources, such as the sunlight. This is why a vertical farm production is no longer dependent on using fossil resources.
Buildings are the central element of the city and thus the urban ecosystem. It is therefore especially important that each building is embedded into the social, architectural and economic city environment. We design vertical farms as multi-functional buildings today, creating a space of relaxation for the city dwellers, a work and meeting place, a market and dining area, as well as a place to grow food – right there where they live. Food production becomes a part of the urban everyday life again.
A VERTICAL FARM…
…drastically reduces agricultural land use.
…saves up to 95% water.
…makes cultivation possible, independent of weather conditions & season.
…delivers each harvest with continuous quality.
…brings maximum freshness into the city.
…saves on transport to the consumer.
…limits CO2 and puts less strain on the climate.
…brings agriculture back into urban everyday life.
The human race is growing
An omnivorous (eating everything) person requires an average of approximately 2300 m2 of cultivation area for his/her nutritional needs. Austria imports more than half of its consumed food stuffs from other countries. Above all, the Asian and African population is growing at an accelerated rate. One thing is going to be very important in the years to come: To ensure the food supply for rapidly growing world populations. How are we to provide for nine billion people in the year 2050?
Resources are getting scarce
The basic resources for plant cultivation are light, water and nutrients. A lack of precipitation often leads to sourcing the needed water from groundwater, lakes or rivers, resulting in the lowering of groundwater levels and the drying up of natural water resources. The increased demand for agricultural space has led to clearing rain forests by fire all over the world, which then leads to significantly higher production of CO2. Crude oil is still the central energy source for the food sector, fertilizer and transport and thus contributes significantly to climate change.
Supply security is threatened
Post-Fukushima Japan has already built 150 plant factories. Because last, but not least, we need to ask ourselves how we are going to produce healthy food in a heavily polluted world. Reinsurance and insurance companies providing guarantees in case of hail have complained about greater storm damages of hundreds of millions of euros, and that in Austria alone. Hail, storms and torrential rains can destroy crops in a matter of minutes. The real sufferers are the producing farmer and the consumers. So how can we secure our food production, regardless of ever increasing extreme weather events, and what is the best way to produce year around?
We secure the future of food
Vertical farms preserve our ecosystem in a variety of ways. Because the space is utilized vertically instead of on the ground level, only a fraction of the ground surface is needed compared to what is required for conventional farming. Innovative irrigation systems and lighting methods make food production possible year around – regardless of weather conditions. We are thinking along the lines of circulation systems for materials and resources: Wastewater is to be reused as irrigation water, plant residues are used for heat in the form of biogas. The protection of the building’s shell and new lighting methods make food production possible year around – regardless of weather conditions. This contributes to food security for cities in a significant way.
We are rethinking regional focus
For more than 11,000 years we have produced our food in the same places we consumed them. We want to restore this practice again. Biological, fresh and local products are produced by consumers directly in their cities. Furthermore, vertical farm products can be prioritized at the site, processed further, packaged, sold and consumed close by. Our relationship to this locally produced and consumed food is holistically regional again at last.
New occupational fields are created
A vertical farm is not only versatile in its use, but also creates new occupational groups and jobs in all of its core areas: In its cultivation, plant supply and technology, during harvest and processing, as well as in sales and catering or the restaurant business. Today’s practical applications already manage inclusive projects successfully. In addition, there is no limit to the imagination: Public spaces can be rethought and revived for relaxation and collaboration, social interaction takes on a new meaning, and local economic interdependence will be established.
The food industry of tomorrow
A vertical farm can be built anywhere and at any time. First examples of successful vertical city farms are now available (Singapore, Sweden, the Netherlands, USA, Japan). These agricultural technologies will be redefining the food industry in the years to come. The vertical farm market is estimated to reach 5.8 billion USD by 2022, with an annual growth rate of 24.8% (2016-2022).
We specialize in the development of vertical farm operations with transparent facades to maximize utilization of the sunlight. Instead of black boxes, we rely on the power of readily available natural forces. There is another good reason for our building being transparent: We want to restore the trust in industrial food production. People are able to see for themselves how their food is grown, right in their city: Transparent, regional and with the highest of quality.
The vertical farm institute meets these and other challenges head on with courage, drive and innovation. This is where you find our offers. Join us ! Become part of a movement that brings more freshness into the cities and reclaims urban spaces for food production. Meet up with us at our events, engage in discussions with us on Facebook or put in an application with us – you can become part of the future of food!