February AVF Newsletter



We hope you enjoy the essay and all of the exciting updates we have to share. For this month's newsletter we're starting off with an essay by Dorothy Farrell, a contributor for AVF's Press division.

I stepped into a rooftop greenhouse at a public school in Brooklyn. The students were off for vacation, and it was quiet inside. The hydroponics systems were overflowing with lettuce, kale, parsley, and cilantro.  From the foggy window, I could see the Manhattan skyline. I am in the concrete jungle, but everything I learned in the Costa Rican jungle still remains relevant.

I spent a year and a half working and studying at a sustainability education center in the lowland tropics. From the tree house where I lived, I could watch the orchards get visibly more luscious each day. It grew Tahitian chestnuts, peach palms, olive oil palms, jackfruit, and bananas, and below the canopy, sweet potatoes created a ground cover, and vanilla vines hugged the trunks of trees. As the food forest matured, it reached to capture sunlight from every cubic centimeter. To the untrained eye, the boundary between the forest and the orchard was difficult to discern.

When I returned to New York City, my hometown, I was curious to learn more about how people were meeting the demands for global food security. In the forest, we cultivated a food forest. In the city, where buildings form the dominant landscape, we are cultivating vertical farms. I learned about the Association for Vertical Farming from a group of urban farmers in NYC. The foreign idea of growing food without soil or sun challenged my understanding and intrigued me to continue learning more. The city, humanity’s contribution to nature, offers a canvas we are still exploring how to use. The opportunities for creativity are unlimited.

On a rooftop in Brooklyn, I dipped a test tube into the tilapia pond to gather a sample to measure nitrates. The fish, however, nipped their hungry lips at my fingers. I reached for a bag of fish food. Next month, however, my cricket trial will be ready to harvest, and the fish may have a new, reliable source of energy grown on site. Like the vast community of urban farmers, I too am exploring how we can become more self-reliant.

Shelter, food, and community, our three basic needs, can co-exist under a well-designed system. Vertical farms give us the opportunity to explore turning the densest populated areas into productive space: Let the gray facades of building grow green as we cultivate the future.


Dorothy Farrell

AVFpress Contributor & Project Manager

Los Angeles Agritecture Workshop

Agritecture Workshop is an interactive design workshop that matches professionals into three small teams. Those teams then develop a concept urban or vertical farm for a pre-selected site in LA. Participants will benefit from a crash course in hydroponics, aquaponics, vertical farming, economics of urban agriculture, and mentorship throughout the workshop!

Click here for a short video summarizing Agritecture Workshops

At the conclusion of the workshop, an audience will gather on April 1st at 4:00pm at Perkins+Will's office for the presentation and networking session. Workshop teams will present their concept farms to the audience and to a panel of judges, who will select the winning team. A networking session will follow to conclude the event.

Click here for more info and subscription.

The 2017 AVF Award

The 2016 AVF Award was a huge success. 300+ student lead teams from around the world applied to participate. The teams had to take their project through 5 milestones, which narrowed the field to 28 teams from 24 different countries. 

The one-minute videos the teams made resulted in 50,000 views and a lot of positive publicity. We are hopeful that we can do even better in 2017.

The 2017 AVF Award is now in jeopardy. Unless we are able to secure more sponsors for a consortium of sponsors, or one headline sponsor, we will be unable to continue this important work. Please contact us if you feel that your company may be in a position to carry forward this important endeavor.

There are lots of reasons to get excited about it, including the award culminating in the 2017 AVF Summit. More announcements about the Summit coming soon.

Also, please feel free to watch the webinar we held for potential sponsorship opportunities earlier in December here.


Food in Emergencies
A Global Impact Challenge
Brought to you by World Food Programme & Singularity University
What moonshot innovation would you develop using exponential technology to provide sustainable access to local and nutritious food in emergencies?

The Challenge

Design a low-cost, scalable solution that enables severely marginalized people to support their (five-member, on average) household food and nutrition needs in a sustainable manner that lowers their dependence on aid.

Who We’re Looking For

We’re looking for innovators from all walks of life with proven grit and experience.
You’re an ideal candidate if you:
• An accomplished entrepreneur, technologist, scientist, or change agent
• Have a background in or a passion for solving household food production in a disaster context
• Already considering how to leverage exponential technologies to create positive impact in the world
• Committed to the long-term journey of launching an impact-focused startup

Deadline for submission is March 13th 2017

For more info click here. 

Get in touch with the organizers by sending an email to: or

Be a part of #whatsnext in Food & Ag at TFF’s Global Summit in Amsterdam

A mash-up of the best parts of SXSW, WEF and Burning Man, the
TFF Global Summit is THE place for the world’s current and future
food and ag innovators to come together, learn and explore
#whatsnext. Hear from leading innovators and inspiring thought
leaders from a variety of fields, watch breakthrough startup pitches
from young entrepreneurs from around the world, and experience
firsthand the creative power and impact of the next generation over
two days brimming with first-class content and memorable

Make sure to get your Blind Bird tickets before prices go up April 1st!
For more info on speakers and the program, head to TFF’s website.
New Members

Rather than simply providing their clients with state-of-the-art hardware, the primary aim of Hortilux is to maximise their client’s business. Hortilux tailor made grow light solutions create the optimum balance of light intensity, energy consumption and crop growth, resulting in the highest possible yield per m2.


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. Stephane Razzon ( is your contact in this regard. If you’re interested in new opportunities in the industry then take a look at our careers page.

Indoor Farms of America Completes Warehouse Farm

Panasonic's First Indoor Farm Grows Over 800 Tons of Greens
Per Year - Take a Look Inside

Solar Lighting Technology for NYC Park Project Holds
Potential For Vertical Farms


Aglanta Recap


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Association for Vertical Farming · Marschnerstraße · Munich 81245 · Germany