Architects, commercial growers, entrepreneurs, engineers, marketers, designers and sustainability managers will be working together to consider a viable ‘agritecture’ concept for London at a special interdisciplinary workshop on 24th & 25th June, co-hosted by Agritecture.com, the Association of Vertical Farming (AVF), Southbank Consulting, Blue Planet Consulting and venue hosts, CASS School of Architecture, London.
The two day workshop, titled ‘Integrating agriculture into urban neighbourhoods’ will be led by mentors from AVF and Blue Planet Consulting who first started running the workshop in New York in December 2014. Since then they have since taken it to other states including California in February but this will be the first time it will have been tried outside of the US. Participants will be challenged to combine their knowledge and disciplines to complete a mission in urban agriculture project planning, demonstrating creativity, sustainability and feasibility when integrating agriculture into cities.
A mini version of HydroGarden’s vertical hydroponics farming system, VydroFarm, will be on display at the workshop, as an example of how hydroponic farming can be incorporated into design projects to offer sustainable solutions to future generations.
Hydroponics innovator HydroGarden, based in Coventry, first launched VydroFarm at the Vertical Farming and Urban Agriculture Conference at the University of Nottingham in 2014. Currently in its 20th successful year of trading, the company recently secured a substantial grant from the UK’s innovation agency Innovate UK. The co-funding will enable it to take VydroFarm through further research and development and establish it as a viable solution for commercial growers, both in the UK and internationally.
Advantages of the VydroFarm system include the fact that it is fully scalable. In its larger format it is a self-contained and environmentally controlled room, offering commercial growers a large scale solution for growing crops where space is limited, such as in urban areas where VydroFarm could be used on the top of skyscrapers, or in any adverse climate. It can be pre-programmed for specific crops and monitored remotely, removing the need for horticultural expertise on site. VydroFarm uses fully adjustable tiered racks to accommodate different crops at different growth stages and Valoya LED lights line each tier to provide a high quality light source. Nutrient-rich water is supplied direct to the plants, and ventilation and environmental monitoring equipment all work together to provide the optimum growing conditions to reliably and consistently produce the perfect harvest.