What is an AVF Workshop

The goals

  1. To design a complete vertical farming concept that is integrated into the local ecosystem, thereby enhancing it socially, ecologically and economically.
  2. An educational experience for all participants, from students to experts.
  3. Exposure for everyone involved: AVF-members, the city, local organisations,…

The Workshop Method

Bringing 30 people together to work on one concept seems like an impossible task. Yet it is not, after many years of facilitating collaboration, the Association for Vertical Farming brought all its experience to the table and developed a workshop model.

There are 2 important parts about this workshop: “Ways of Working” & “The 6 sessions”.

Ways of Working

This workshop is to design a small community of individuals, businesses and other organisations. Hence working together is not as easy as it sounds. Only with a solid foundation of respect and openness, a community of individuals with many different ideas and backgrounds, can come up with fantastic solutions.

That’s why for the AVF-workshop, the following principles in the ways of working are applied:

Every Participant…

  • Is prepared to engage in a solution-oriented rational debate
  • Avoids identifying with a specific view that excludes other opinions
  • Understands that potential interesting solutions will result from distinct different opinions
  • Is prepared to be convinced by other opinions and is willing to admit mistakes
  • Trusts in the expertise of other people, and in the ability of a group to come up with a well-behaved opinion
  • Discusses as an individual participant, not as representative of an existing group or structure.

The Six Sessions

To facilitate the AVF-workshop, 6 sessions have been predefined. However, everyone should know that a plan is only a plan and is always subjected to change. Hence, the sessions are guidelines and not rules. If the participants come up with better or more creative ideas, the sessions will change accordingly.

  • Session I – Workshop Warm Up (Weeks before the event)
  • Session II – Introduction to the Urban Jungle (Day 1)
  • Session III – Brainstorm the Ecosystem (Day 1)
  • Session IV – Designing the Ecosystem (Day 2)
  • Session V – The Ultimate Proposal (Day 2)
  • Session VI – The Public Presentation (Day 2)

At the beginning of each session, all participants split up in smaller teams to work on the project. At the end of each session, all participants come back together to discus the results and decide on the way forward.

Session I – Workshop Warm Up

The Workshop Warm up starts 3 weeks in advance of the workshop. All participants receive updates and relevant information that will get them warmed up for the real event. In the package are video’s, white papers, articles, speaker information, and so on.

Session II – Introduction to the Urban Jungle

To know what to work on, every participant needs to understand the context, which in many cases will seem like a choas or an urban jungle. During this introduction sessions everyone will also be infused with the case and its context, a lot of local inspiration & last but not least: knowledge by experts from many different fields.

Session III – Brainstorm the Ecosystem

Now that every participant has gained knowledge and insight into the case for the vertical farming ecosystem. It is time for them to use their imagination and experience to come up with ideas for the site. The 30 participants split up into 6 brainstorm groups and after 90min all participants come back together to share their ideas.

At the end of this session, all participants agree on a basic design for the vertical farming ecosystem.

Session IV – Designing the Ecosystem

Now that the basic Ecosystem has been agreed upon. It is time for the participants to split up into 3 groups that will each expand on a different part of the ecosystem:

  1. Economy – What are the different organisational models that will be present in the ecosystem?
  2. Science & Ecology – What Crops will be grown, how will they be grown and what is the technology and infrastructure needed?
  3. Social – How will the design be integrated into the context of the existing neighbourhood, city, country, planet,…?


Session V – The Ultimate Proposal

Now that the ecosystem is designed, it is time to finalize the details into an ultimate proposal. This will happens in minimum 6 teams who will do the last research and will transform it into the final plan.

  1. The Story & marketing of the whole ecosystem
  2. Location, Architecture and Agritecture. Designs and sketches.
  3. What are the local/global policy challenges around this project
  4. Business plans & resource flows. Team per organisation


Session VI – The Public Presentation

Now the vertical Farming concept has been worked out into details. It is time to deliver it to the general public. During a bigger event or conference, the participants will be able to show off their work to the general public.

The next AVF-workshop

Check out the AVF events-page and sign up or get a spot on the waiting list for the next AVF-workshop, or help to host one in your city: Contact info@vertical-farming.net and let us know

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