May 2016 Newsletter

Hi There

May 2016


No time to lose: while waiting impatiently for the day the AVF community will gather in Amsterdam, many things happened this month. We went to Mumbai, we welcomed seven new members, we interviewed Lars Aikala the CEO of Valoya, and we concluded our 2016 Vertical Farming Award. Congratulations to the award sponsors Illumitex, Thought For Food and Globumbus for helping us bring together this first of its kind competition in vertical farming with 100+ concept designs from over 24 countries. Lastly we are thrilled to be hosting and collaborating on three events in June:


AVF Summit 2016

Website_site_banner_2016_small-01During the upcoming AVF Summit, we will investigate vertical farming as it relates to circular economy principles. Circular economy principles are the next logical step beyond “reducing, reusing and recycling”, which is to design systems than integrate all three before the systems are even built. The AVF Summit will seek to inform and initiate discussion on practical applications for these key principles.

The speakers and participants at the AVF Summit comprise of entrepreneurs, designers and policy makers; the very people that will pioneer the implementation of circular economy to vertical farming and prove that this is a feasible task.

If you want to make sure not to miss this special event and the opportunity to learn, network and add to your experiences? Then get your tickets here.

The AVF Summit 2016 Agenda
Time Title Speaker
8.15 Registration
9.00 Opening / Welcome Christine Zimmermann-Loessl (AVF, Germany)
9.10 Keynote: The Vertical Farm as the Ecosystem of the City Dr. Dickson Despommier (Columbia University & AVF, USA)
9.30 Building Integrated Agriculture & Circular Economy Oscar Rodriguez (Architecture & Food, UK)
9.50 Closing the loops with Vertical Farming Dr. Ed Harwood  (Aerofarms, USA)
10.10 EU policy for Urban Agriculture and Circular Economy Jose Ruiz Espi, Director General, Agriculture and Rural Development (EU Commission, Belgium)
10.20 State of the Vertical Farming Industry: The AVF Whitepaper Howard Brin (AVF, USA) & Vincent Fesquet (New’rban View, France)
10:40 Introduction to ReGen Villages James Ehrlich (ReGen Villages, USA)
10:45 Networking Break Networking Break
11.10 Case Study 1 “Aquaponics Farm“ Marc Durno (Urban Farmers, Switzerland)
11.25 Case Study 2 “Insects” Dr. Peter Bickerton (Genome Analysis Center, UK)
11.40 Case Study 3 “Mushrooms” Kasper Moreaux (Mycelia, Belgium)
11.55 Panel 1: The Circular Vertical Farm (Moderator: Zjef van Acker) Mr. Durno, Dr. Bickerton, Mr. Moreaux, Mr. Ehrlich & Mr. Lanting (Agri-protein)
12.30 Networking Lunch Networking Lunch
14.00 Workshop: Circular Economy Villages: a 3D Approach Zjef Van Acker & Kerstin Schreiber
15.15 How to address Architectural, Construction and Building Code Challenges for Vertical Farms Paul Hardej (Illumitex, USA)
15.35 AVF Award Pitch Winners of “Innovation Prize for Vertical Farming”
15.55 The Fundamentals of Light and its Impact on Vertical Farming Nick Klase (Fluence Bioengineering, USA)
16.15 Panel 2: Advancements in LED Technology for Vertical Farms (Moderator: Henry Gordon-Smith) Mr. van der Feltz (Philips, The Netherlands), Mr. den Besten (HAS, The Netherlands), Mr. Aikala (Valoya, Finland), Mr. Klase (Fluence Bioengineering, USA)
16.50 Networking Break Networking Break
17.15 Building your indoor farm, where to spend less time and make more money John Choo (Indoor Harvest, USA)
17.30 AVF Sustainability Certification Mark Horler (AVF, UK)
17:40 The Potential of Vertical Farming in the Netherlands and Worldwide: Critical Reflections Dr. Jan Willem van der Schans (WUR, The Netherlands)
17.50 Future of Retail Fabio Ziemssen (METRO Group, Germany)
18.05 Closing remarks Max Loessl & Henry Gordon-Smith (AVF Co-Founders, Germany & USA)

Agritecture Collaborative Design Workshop – London, UK

Agritecture workshops have become synonymous with high quality networking and learning opportunities in VF. Entrepreneurs, designers, policy makers, growers, and enthusiasts have all attended past workshops with rave reviews. We highly recommend attending the next workshop, June 24th and 25th in London. Click this link to sign up!

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 6.47.03 PM

#AVFaward Winner Announcement

Vertical Farming Award 2016 led by the Association for Vertical Farming, sponsored by Illumitex and Globumbus, and powered by Thought For Food, the #AVFaward brought together 100+ concept designs from over 24 countries, holding the first of its kind competition in vertical farming.

Now, we proudly present you the winners:

1st place – Innovation Award from Illumitex: $5,000 and a trip for one to the AVF summit on June 13th in Amsterdam – Winners: Team “Inter-Farm_Market” (Kim Zhao Wei, Lai Chuen Ket, Chong Shen Loong, Chai Yi Xue)

2nd place – Changemaker Award from Thought for Food: $3,000 – Winners: Team “VeGaN” (Pietro Della Sala, Santiago Botia, Jose Manuel Patino, Susana Prieto, Gil Schramm)

3rd place – Explorer Award from Globumbus: $1,500 – Winners: Team “Impackt Farm” (Pepe Lacruz, Sofya Abramchuk, Alexandra Blankenstein, Tsering Kenji Sherpa)

Curious to see 2016 announcement video? Click here!

We would like to thank all of the teams for doing such great work and contributing fabulous ideas to the community!

And of course a big thanks to our main sponsor Illumitex, the amazingly supportive team of Thought for Food and our 3rd place sponsors Globumbus!

But don’t worry. This is not the end of #AVFaward. There will be a new competition next year! Stay tuned, we will keep you posted with news.

Mumbai Seminar 2016


The AVF travelled to Mumbai, India to participate in the “All India Seminar on Business Opportunities in Soilless Cultivation”. Zjef van Acker, our Chief Engagement Officer, was there and shared his impressions and experiences with us in his informative report. The seminar was organized by Indian AVF-member Center for Research in Alternative Farming Technologies (CRAFT) and brought together numerous stakeholders to discuss the potentials of a rebirth of Indian food production. Click here for the whole report!


New AVF Members


MSFT_logo_rgb_C-Gray.3b156229Thanks to Microsoft’s hydroponics and microgreens programs, employees can add fresh microgreens and lettuce grown on-site for their lunch breaks. Microsoft has growing-towers in 15 locations and cultivates 7,000 plants at a time along with 2,000 pounds of soil-based microgreens. Read more about Microsoft’s growing endeavors here.

Fluence Bioengineering

imgresDesigning and building LED lighting systems for indoor and greenhouse growing is Fluence Bioengineering’s daily business. The company (formerly known as BML Horticulture) has its base in Austin, Texas. See their CEO Mr. Klase speak at the upcoming AVF Summit!

80 Acres

logo80acres80 Acre’s farms use 90% less water and yield 40 times more than traditional farming, operating year-round with no pesticides in a pollution free environment. What makes 80 Acres different and poised for growth? They are an experienced team of global food industry professionals, having successfully built and grown multiple food companies.

Vertical Field

vertical-field-grande-300x159Vertical Field is an expert in the design and construction of green vertical gardens and green walls. The team works in Israel and already realized more than 200 projects all over the world including at the offices of Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and Intel.


imgres-1The winners of Tech Crunch Disrupt 2015 are now AVF Members. Agrilyst from New York applies for their intelligence platform to indoor farms using: data integration, farm management and real time analytics. This software provides greenhouse operators and vertical farmers with data and knowledge for efficiency improvement.


logoOur new japanese member SPREAD built its Kameoka Plant in 2007, the world’s largest “plant factory” with 21,000 heads of lettuce produced each day. In 2015, they announced plans for their most recent project Vegetable Factory™ in the Kansai Science City, producing 30,000 lettuces per day in an inexpensive and environmentally friendly model.

Transcend Lighting

1461868208New York City is their home: Transcend Lighting. Their phosphor lighting systems – designed and manufactured in the US – need less energy to create more photosynthetic light. Premier investors (e.g. Y-Combinator) support the growth in order to equip farms all over the world with Transcend’s LED light installations.

Changemaker in the Spotlight


This month, Andrew Blume, Zjef van Acker and Kerstin Schreiber spoke with Valoya’s CEO Lars Aikala, our Changemaker of May. The enterprise is located in Finnland and was founded in 2009. Valoya develops lighting for horticulture and its name speaks for itself: “Valoja” is the Finnish word for light. We asked Lars about the perfect lighting, circular economy business models in the lighting industry and why light is so impressive.

Find the full interview here!

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ReGen Villages – Their President James Ehrlich will be giving a brief presentation at the AVF Summit. We are thrilled to meet him and learn more about his plans!


Self driving greenhouse ball


The New York Times about vertical farming and its potential role in combating global food security


Shipping container farms: Vertical Harvest Hydroponics partnering with CXT






Philips (Eindhoven, Netherlands)

Agrilution (Munich, Germany)

Association for Vertical Farming (Anywhere)

Local Roots Farms (Los Angeles, California)

 AVF Agenda

June 13, AVF Summit 2016, Amsterdam, Netherlands

June 14-16, GreenTech 2016, Vertical Farming Pavilion, Amsterdam, Netherlands

June 24-25, Agritecture London Collaborative Workshop, London, UK

September 19-25, New York AgTech Week & AVF Annual Meeting, New York, USA

September 25, AVF Annual Meeting, New York, USA

December 2016,  Agritecture Workshop Brussels, Belgium

January 2017,  Agritecture Workshop Mumbai, India