AVF Newsletter #5 - May 2015 


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East meets West during the inaugural

Association for Vertical Farming Summit

in Beijing, China
on May 9-10th, 2015

China, with it's rapidly growing mega-cities, sees safe and healthy food as one of its biggest challenges. They have extensive technological expertise, have gathered an incredible amount of indoor farming knowledge and are already a critical player in the development of sustainable Vertical Farming. By bridging the gap between East & West, this event will be a very important step forward in Global Cooperation.

During this summit experts from all over the world meet up with Chinese specialist and stakeholders. By sharing knowledge about technological advancement and best practices we will develop a road map for pilot projects all over the wold. Yes indeed, it will be this year's most important Vertical Farming gathering.
Do not miss it!

Confirmed Speakers: 

Dr. Wei Lingling (Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development in Agriculture, IEDA)
Prof. Yang Qichang (Chinese Academy for Agricultural Sciences, CAAS)
Dr. Wen Tao (Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development in Agriculture, IEDA)
Dr. Zhenshan Yang (IGSNRR-CAS and RUAF China)
Dr. Toyoki Kozai (Japan Plant Factory Association)
Dr. Dickson Despommier (Columbia University/The Vertical Farm)
Dr. Nate Storey (Bright Agrotech)
Dr. Joel Cuello (University of Arizona)
Maximilian Loessl (agrilution)
Dai Jian Feng (Philips City Farming)
Marc Ferguson (Hungry Planet Farms)
Jack Ng (Sky Greens)
Henk de Zeeuw (RUAF)
Hans Au (iF Foods)
Henry Gordon-Smith (Agritecture)
Yuval Zohar (JDS Architects)
Matt Durnin (Jane Goodall Institute)
Mohan Bajikar (AVF India)


Welcome to our newest members!

Great news, seven new organisations joined forces in fostering sustainable growth and the development of Vertical Farming Technologies. Reach out and welcome them to our thriving international team.

Certhon is a Dutch company active as a designer and builder of greenhouses and technical installations for international greenhouse horticulture. Certhon has a reputation as a company that invests a great deal in research and development. That has resulted in the development of various growth chamber projects and multi-layered projects worldwide. 


D-Glatt is a Japanese manufacturer of indoor plant factories in containers and greenhouses. They also sell water-cooled LED grow light units that save energy and maintain temperature inside the farm. In addition, they have a full-scale remote monitoring system. D-Glatt can flexibly provide any solutions to the farmer that wants to grow crops indoors.


Sustainable offers consultancy for development, implementation and steering of CR. They are also specialized in climate and water strategies, sustainability training and much more.


Agritecture is an extremely active blog that promotes discussion about sustainable building and urban planning solutions. It is your source for Vertical and Urban agriculture news, business, jobs and design.

Overstock Farmers Market

Overstock is a Utah based company that strives to provide their customers with quality products at the best prices possible. They are also effortless in giving a level of service that makes people come back. With their Farmers Market, they connect with farmers and growers in your area that can deliver right up to your doorstep.

Virginia State University

The VSU College of Agriculture's mission is to improve the educational and socio-economic well-being of students, families, and communities, focusing on excellence through integrated instruction, research and extension programs. And they have an Indoor Farm!

Agrotech is a company from Denmark that Transforms science into business through knwoledge-based consultancy, technological services and innovation within the fields of environment, plants and food. Agrotech is one of Denmark's nine Advanced Technology service institutes, and the only one for agriculture and food innovation. 

Agritecture Collaborative Design Workshop, Las Vegas 

On the evening of Sunday March 29th,2015 and all day on Monday March 30th, The Association for Vertical Farming, Indoor Ag Con, the UNLV Downtown Design Center and GreenView Global hosted an integrated design workshop in Las Vegas. Three teams of urban farming professionals, supported by UNLV students, designed “farms of the future” in a workshop that taught vertical farming concepts in a hands-on, experiential setting.

It was only three months after the NYC workshop and some improvements were made. The most important improvement was to partner up with a real estate development. Downtown Project kindly offered three abandoned motels to be used as sites by each teams. The interesting part is that, in reality, every motel is considered for redevelopment. 

  1. Western Hotel - Team 1 - Presentation
  2. Alicia Motel - Team 2 - Presentation
  3. Fergusons - Team 3 - Presentation 
The Judges for the Las Vegas workshop were Dr. Dickson DespommierSarah AdlerChris Higgins, and Maggie Hsu. Teams were judged on the creativity, economic feasibility, and sustainability of their projects. 

And the winner was: TEAM 1 aka Green Stars

With ample space around the building provided to them, Green Stars went big, designing an additional vertical farming structure that would connect to the main building. This vertical farm would include phytointegration and would be designed to have a minimal depth to optimize natural light and save significant energy costs. Additional grow lighting would come from LED lights. Passive cooling strategies would allow for the farm to keep its cool better than most buildings in the Las Vegas desert. 


Architect - Craig Palacios
Hydroponic grower - Marilyn Yamamoto
Entrepreneur – Gabriel Rubanenko
Engineer - Javid Butler
Entrepreneur -  Vishal Amarnani
Human Resources Manager - Rostya Gordon-Smith
Hydroponic Grower - Barry Thoele
Student - Mirella Garcia
Student - Arely Lopez
Student - Nasar Saghafi

A Vertical Farming E-Learning Platform?

Give your opinion.... We all need teachers and mentors. So with the rapidly increasing number of businesses and institutions getting involved in Urban and Vertical Farming, AVF and its members see the necessity for tools to guide the existing and new farmers. You probably already know about our glossary, but we have some other tools in the pipeline that we are excited to share for business and institution members of the AVF.

The mission is to build and sustain a globally connected community around accurate data and resources about Urban and Vertical Farming. And of course, we are still the AVF, so while spreading the knowledge and wisdom about Vertical Farming, we want to encourage collaboration and awareness. For the development of the online environment, we want to ask you 1 simple question:
How would the E-learning Platform be able to help YOU?


Please comment on this Linked-in post

A Changemaker in the Spotlights

The Association For Vertical Farming would not exist if it weren't for the people who supported it. Therefore we would like to get to know our members and what better way to do that than through a small interview. 
Meet Rick Passo a.k.a. Richard A. Passo from Las Vegas. According to himself, his career started when he joined the US peace corps in 1979. Later on, as an attorney he worked on disability rights and immigration asylums. He also did Supply logistics for UPS.
In recent years he got a interested in Urban Farming so he founded FoodHub Las Vegas and co-founded the Seedlibrary Las Vegas. We want to tell you everything about Rick in this intro, but as it's quite extensive, we'll probably need the permission to start his biography first.

Hey Rick, what do you do in life that makes you happy?
What makes me happy about life is, literally, to make a difference – to make ripples of impact that uplift others as well as myself. And the emergent field of Vertical Farming clearly affords me the possibilities of empowering and feeding and nourishing and uplifting others.

What attracts you to Vertical Farming?
I come to the Vertical Farming arena from a mental health consumer perspective - as someone who has battled my bipolar disorder for more than 30 years. I came to this space via research and personal experience that I found that Controlled Environment Agriculture offers for horticultural therapy.
Entities such as the Green Bronx Machine of Stephen Ritz provide me with much inspiration.
Why did you join the AVF?
I joined the AVF initially in appreciation for all the wonderful work, insight and planning done by Henry Gordon Smith in preparation for the Las Vegas design charrette, which was an incredible experience. And, as I stated publicly the next day at Indoor Ag-Con: I am committed to creating an extension of that design charrette competition at an upcoming Nevada Statewide Green School Summit, which I am helping to plan along with the Green School Committee of the US Green Building Council of Nevada:

Then I particularly liked the fact that the AVF has reduced cost memberships for individuals with disabilities, such as myself. Not incidentally, I have let my Vocational Rehabilitation counselor, Paul Gamble, know about this disability orientation of the AVF.

What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future? Simply to continue to try to make a difference in my life and those of others - and to inspire the Association of Vertical Farming and others to strive harder, deeper and better to involve those with special needs and disabilities more thoroughly and intimately in the emergent technologies and trainings associated with Controlled Environment Agriculture.

Can you show us 3 important pictures and can you explain what they mean for you?
Together, the three photos represent an incredible array of products and personalities and programs designed to transform lives and to prepare and nourish a growing, diverse population into the future. It especially represents the future of Las Vegas, Nevada, a community of more than 2 million people with annual visitations of over 40 million tourist but also a community with almost ZERO local food production and great pockets of food deserts - in the heart of the Great Basin of the Mojave Desert. Hence: why Vertical Farming and Controlled Environment Agriculture is so incredibly important here in my adopted hometown of Las Vegas.
The first photo is drawing representing a National Health & Wellness Project at PS 55 in the Bronx via the Green Bronx Machine - a national expansion of a wonderfully effective and innovative program of Stephen Ritz which has had incalculably amazing impact on students with all sorts of learning and community challenges, which I am advocating to be replicated here in Las Vegas.
The second photo represents students from a Las Vegas Elementary STEM Magnet School, the Walter Bracken Academy. which is now beginning to expand its outdoor learning classrooms indoors. The students there are now using Zipgrow technology from to learn more about vertical farming and controlled environment agriculture. The transfer of this wonderful technology came from Alan Yoshioka of and his incredible global network, which has inspired me for over three year and which continues to amaze me.
The third photo shows the magic and power of just a few of the innovations and initiatives of Alan and Neil of - micrograms, hyperlocal growth of organic produce and of micrograms via inspired and created by Alan Yoshioka

Opportunities in the wonderous world
of Vertical Farming

Looking to make your mark in the sustainability industry? Excited by the emerging field of vertical farming? The AVF now has a Careers Portal on which some of the members have already posted some exciting new opportunities to take part in the future of farming:

  • Developer: Full-time job with Agrilution (Munich, Germany) 
  • Summer internship with Agritecture (New York City)
  • Designer: Volunteer with the Association for Vertical Farming

Visit the AVF Careers Page for more info and other opportunities. 

There is no better time to join AVF!

  • Connect with like-minded people and start or support new VF initiatives
  • Improve and share research and development
  • Strengthen political influence and encourage the implementation of VF worldwide
  • Take part in VF events and conferences
  • Learn more about VF and stay up to date with the rapidly evolving industry
Reach New Heights! Join the AVF



MAY 9-10, 2015

AVF Summit 2015 Beijing, China

June 26, 2015

Vertical Farming Hackathon 
Singularity University (closed event), 
Palo Alto, USA

June 14-16, 2016

GreenTech Amsterdam 2016: Vertical Farming Pavilion,

Amsterdam, Netherlands

June 17-18, 2016

AVF Summit 2016 Amsterdam, Netherlands


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