Innovating Urban Agriculture: Insights from the AVF Roundtable in Vienna


In recent years, vertical farming (VF) has continued to evolve within the wider food system. It offers the possibility of year-round and locally grown produce in urban environments. Vertical farming possibilities continue to bubble up, revolutionizing how we think about food production. Promoting collaboration between experts is essential for VF’s potential to unfold. 

The Association for Vertical Farming (AVF) recently hosted a Roundtable in Vienna. The event, held on March 15th, 2024, brought together a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss urban agriculture. The discussion was a melting pot of ideas and knowledge exchange, showcasing the need for collaboration to advance sustainable urban food systems.

The objectives for the Vienna Roundtable, all of which help to bridge the gaps between stakeholders, were:

  • Increasing visibility and knowledge around Vertical Farming
  • Networking among various participants and stakeholders
  • Building supply chain resilience for fresh products
  • Promoting collaboration for a sustainable food supply
  • Sharing or introducing a Demonstration/lighthouse project

One specific aim of the Vienna Roundtable was also to explore how to initiate a Vienna Pilot Project with local stakeholders. Can a model or prototype tailored to Vienna’s unique needs and challenges be co-created by partnering with local stakeholders, including government agencies, businesses, and community organizations?

Diverse Participation for a Holistic View

Vertical Farming represents a convergence of diverse disciplines. By fostering dialogue and collaboration among experts and stakeholders, we can harness the collective wisdom needed to identify and overcome challenges and to promote and advance VF in urban areas. 

So who attended the roundtable?

Representatives from Veles Farming attended and shared their expertise in growing Saffron indoors. Their insights highlighted both challenges and opportunities in the sector. (Explore this initiative in more depth in our blog article about Veles Farming.)

Billa, a leading retail chain, discussed its vertical farming container project. One of Billa’s sustainability department team shared the project’s lessons, learning, and potential.

The roundtable also featured a project coordinator from RothNEUsiedl. This urban development project in Vienna aims to integrate green spaces, urban agriculture, and housing for 21,000 people across 124 hectares. 

The Vienna Business Agency shared its support for companies driving sustainability and innovation. The agency focuses on enhancing the city’s quality of life and diversity.

Themes and Takeaways

Discussions focused on increasing urban agriculture’s visibility and knowledge in the city. Among other critical topics raised were:

  • Networking among stakeholders
  • Building supply chain resilience for fresh products 
  • Exploring the idea of a flagship demonstration project to show the benefits of urban agriculture. 

The roundtable highlighted the importance of cross-sector collaboration between retail, technology, urban planning, and community engagement, all of which are vital for urban agriculture to take root in metropolitan areas of Vienna.

Looking Forward

The AVF Vienna roundtable marked a step towards a sustainable urban food system. It showed the potential for innovative solutions and partnerships in urban spaces, and we are grateful for the participants who came to this future-thinking event. 

The AVF is dedicated to facilitating discussions and collaborations in this area, so if you have a project you would like to discuss or would like us to run a roundtable on these themes, please get in touch.

Next Steps – Join the Movement

The AVF invites those interested in urban agriculture, food resilience, and VF to join broader system change in urban areas. Businesses, policymakers, urban planners, and individuals all have experiences, resources, and stories to contribute to this movement’s fabric.

Contact Us

Please contact the AVF to learn more, explore partnership opportunities and stay connected with the AVF and our network of urban agriculture innovators.

Together, we can help shape cities as places of food production and resilience.