Plant factory for demonstrational purposes
The Lansingerland municipality hosts one of the largest greenhouse areas in Europe. Wageningen University & Research is used to investigate all aspects of horticultural production in its 7,500 m2 of greenhouses at the research facility in Bleiswijk. Current plans include the completion of a vertical farm by summer 2020.
The indoor farm is a powerful research tool to investigate a number of products and services with respect to their resource efficiency (water, CO2, energy), sustainability and public appeal. In the FoodE project it will serve as a location for communication and dissemination due to its close connections with the local growers, producers, suppliers as well as the collaboration with the municipality of Lansingerland (NL). The program will facilitate training and dissemination workshops on closed plant production which will be accessible to over 300 local growers and other agricultural specialists. Moreover, dissemination and promotional events will be open to over 2,000 visitors per year. In order to comply with rule and restrictions imposed by the current Covid-19 pandemic, online tools will be used when on-site events won’t be possible. Dissemination will focus on inspiration, education and indirect, future job creation.
WUR and Municipality of Lansingerland are involving relevant food-chain stakeholders in a co-creation process towards the implementation of the pilot case:
Several stakeholders in both public and private sector are surveyed via a questionnaire with the aim to identify needs, interests, perceived innovations and challenges in vertical farming. The results will contribute to give an overview of the general direction within Vertical Farming, the most pressing topics, the important variables, as well as the future research and outreach activities to be organized at the pilot site with the engagement of different stakeholders (e.g. local producers, suppliers, students, citizens).
In addition, a student project was issued through the ACT program of Wageningen University (Academic Consultancy Training). A team of MSc students with background in horticulture, nutrition and sustainable agriculture is working on the development of a new standardized methodology for selecting nutritious crops in vertical farming. This includes the definition of evaluation criteria that will enable urban growers to select fruit and vegetables, not only on the basis of their profitability, but also considering nutritional, technical and resource aspects. The final report will contain results from literature studies and expert interviews as well as a methodology and a tentative list of crops (and their score).
External publications featuring the pilot:
In collaboration with FoodE partners:
Gemeente Lansingerland (NL), Wageningen University & Research (NL), University of Bologna (IT), Institut des Sciences et Industries du Vivant et de l’Environnement – Agro Paris Tech (FR), Tasen Microgreen AS (NO) and Flytech SRL (IT)