“The older generation had greater respect for land than science. But we live in an age when science, more than soil, has become the provider of growth and abundance. Living just on the land creates loneliness in an age of globalization”.
In only a few sentences, this old quote unintentionally captured a notion that is deeply embedded in the Vertical Farming industry as a disruptive technology but also as way of reshaping communities, emphasizing the soil as secondary to human creativity. It keeps reminding us, although originally mentioned in a different context, of the closely knit dynamics between food, science and plain simple human connection; dynamics we unfortunately grew strange from.
I guess this is what first brought me to the AVF and then later to be an intern at Infarm, a Berlin based Indoor Farming company. Looking back at my time there, what struck me the most is that as there were almost as many nationalities and professional backgrounds as ‘Infarmers’, they all get up in the morning with the same goal in mind – to find new ways to grow food. The beautiful thing is that they are no exception, more and more people seem to share this vision.
This is essentially what vertical farming is all about, it’s about not clinging to old prejudices and assumptions (food could never be grown indoors, plants need soil to grow) while harnessing the stamina and creativity for seemingly radical ideas that could potentially feed 9 billion people by 2050.
The opposite of the latter is opposite to leadership, and leadership is much like going down a path were no one has walked before, a path were food, science and the global community meet together.
AVF Press PG Manager
On the 22nd of September, during the NYC Agtech Week, AVF organized its annual general meeting at the Aerofarms Headquarters. The operations team & the board presented to the members past year’s happenings and future prospects and plans.
The core message was that all is prosperous in the AVF: The member-base keeps on growing (77 businesses/institutions & 156 individual members), the events and projects are successful and there is more and more demand for involvement and interaction with the AVF. Yet, while all that prosperity is good news, the team feels the need to adapt to these very positive developments and for that reason, this AGM was very important.
First of all the new structure was introduced and discussed (more on this in the next section), it was decided that the membership fees will be raised for 2017, the new AVF corporate identity was presented and last but not least, it was agreed upon releasing the white paper for free to non-members on the first of January.
Yes indeed, you read correctly, the white paper will be free for all.
In order to foster global change, thinking big is absolutely necessary. But dreaming is not enough. That’s why the AVF is a big advocate of collaboration.
This is the beauty and the essence of the AVF and is achieved via Project Groups who are open for all members to join. A Project group (PG) is a team of people that work together to address a specific goal or challenge within the vertical farming movement.
To help those Projects Group achieve their fullest potential, they are grouped into 7 divisions, who each have a responsible group leader. Those responsibles connect to each other, the AVF-board and the AVF operations team, and together they form the AVFi (= AVF international). The AVFi, in its turn, makes sure that whatever happens in the PG’s, has a global impact and is part of a big global strategy
Find a more elaborate explanation, a video and a list of all project groups in the About-us section on the AVF-website.
If you have any questions regarding the new, structure, if you want to get involved in a project group, or do you have an idea to start one up, don’t hesitate to contact the AVF at firstname.lastname@example.org
NY AgTech Week 2016 was a whirlwind of high-quality networking, touring, learning. The city’s vertical and urban farming community (AKA the New York Ag Collective) rolled out the green carpet, proving that since they can grow it in NYC, the rest of us can grow it anywhere.
To tune in to how the 175 attendees experienced this spectacular gathering, you can check out:
Join us in Los Angeles for an Urban Farming Event which will be hosted by the Global Ag Innovation Network, Indoor Ag-Con, and Local Roots. The event offers a unique opportunity to meet entrepreneurs, policy makers, investors, growers, and members of the media. Plus there will be local food and beer ;-)
Click here for more information and to register.
Location: Local Roots 5000 Hampton St. Vernon, CA 90058
Time: 6:00pm to 9:00pm
Seeds & Chips is an International Summit dedicated to food innovation from farm to fork, where food and technology meet. They attract hundreds of startups, companies in food and tech, investors, thought leaders and policymakers to share content, visions, projects and experiences. The next event is happening from 8 to 11 May 2017 in Milan (Italy).
The organization requested the AVF to bring together the 10 best vertical farming innovators on the 9th of May, to present the very best ideas to policy and business leaders from around the globe. And we of course, took this opportunity with both hands.
At the moment the AVF is working on a concept for the event and we’ll soon be sending out a call to assemble the 10 innovators. If you have some ideas or already have some questions, please contact Zjef Van Acker via email@example.com
Enza Zaden is an independent worldwide player in vegetable variety breeding. They are breeding in about twenty crops including tomato, pepper, cucumber, melon, onion and lettuce. In addition to its headquarters in the Netherlands, Enza Zaden has breeding stations, production locations and commercial offices strategically located in about 20 countries.
Klasmann-Deilmann is a leading international company of the substrate industry and has declared, “growing sustainably” to be the benchmark of its actions.. We have been involved with peat, a natural product, and its’ use in different branches of industry for almost 100 years, they also provide their products to customers in over 70 countries worldwide, conforming to the guidelines of R.H.P. (Regeling Handels Potgronden, NL)
This month’s Changemaker is Ally Monk, CEO of Motorleaf. We sat down with Ally and his CTO Ramen Dutta to chat about how their hardware and software can help growers control and automate their systems.
Every month in 2016 we have delivered a piece on an AVF Changemaker of the Month. This year we are thrilled to announce there will be a vote to select an AVF Changemaker of the Year. Below is our list of 2016 AVF Changemakers so far:
Please brush up on our changemaker articles as you will have a say in selecting our 2016 AVF Changemaker of the Year. More details to come in following newsletters and on AVF social media :-)
We know that the need for highly qualified professionals, smart interns and volunteers with heart and soul is high in the vertical farming business. Finding the right people for your positions is a challenge and we would like to assist you in offering you both, the platform on our website and this newsletter to reach out to experienced professionals and future experts.
Since your demand might change very quickly, we encourage you to mail us your job ad and keep us updated on whether you filled the position. Andrew Blume (firstname.lastname@example.org) is your contact in this regard.
REFARMERS (Lyon, France)
Building Integrated Greenhouses (Brussels, Belgium)
Agrilution (Munich, Germany)
Association for Vertical Farming (Anywhere)
Come and join us!
October 20, Urban Farming in Los Angeles, USA
November 9 – 10, Farm Business Innovation, NEC Birmingham, UK
November 9 – 10, Agritecture workshop, San Francisco CA
November 10 – 11, Grow Local OC, California State University, Fullerton
December 2016, Agritecture workshop, Belgium
January 2017, Agritecture workshop Mumbai, India
February 2017, Event in Atlanta Georgia, USA
May 2017, Seeds & Chips, Milan, Italy
Thank you for reading the newsletter and thank you for all your hard work planting seeds for the future. If you have ideas for future newsletters please contact us through info@vertical-farming.
This newsletter was written and designed by:
Andrew Blume (LA, California)
Stephane Razzon (Rehovot, Israel)
Kerstin Schreiber (Malmö, Sweden)
Isha Singh (Perth, Australia)