AVF Newsletter: Issue 3 December 2014

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Welcome to our newest members! 

Three new organisations joined the AVF this quarter. We look forward to long-term collaborations with Illumitex, Infarm and Happynest. Along with 20 new individual members, these organisations join us in a global movement towards understanding and progress in Vertical and Urban Farming.

was founded on the development of scientifically proven lighting solutions specifically for the horticulture industry. Illumitex’s patented LED solutions deliver custom spectra directly and uniformly to the plant canopy, allowing growers to produce healthier plants in less time using less energy. Staff plant scientists ensure that Illumitex products exceed the expectations of our customers by providing invaluable, on-site support. Illumitex has installations in some of the largest and most well-known vertical farms and research facilities including FarmedHere, Green Spirit Farms, Veg-E Systems and Caliber Biotherapeutics.

is a Berlin-based Startup developing scalable indoor vertical farms for hotels and restaurants.

develops, builds and operates modular, scalable indoor vertical farms.

Agritecture Design Workshop in NYC: A Success! 

On December 5th and 6th, 18 professionals and 9 students joined together for a day and a half design workshop at Columbia University. The friendly competition drew in professionals from Italy, Germany, Belgium, France, Canada, and several US states including Georgia, Texas, Maryland, Pennsylvania, D.C., and Rhode Island to develop concept urban farms for New York City. There were three teams in total, each composed of an architect, hydroponic grower, engineer, marketing professional, entrepreneur, and sustainability manager. In addition to that, three students from Columbia University’s Sustainability Management program took part on each team. 

Teams were expected to develop concepts that considered the context of NYC and the opportunities and challenges of urban agriculture there. Four judges joined the workshop at a public presentation of the design concepts: Dr. Dickson Despommier (AVF board member), Kate CliffordMichael Gould, and Esther Dyson. Judges listened to 15 minutes presentations by the teams and then rated them on their creativity, sustainability, and feasibility. 


Judges listened to teams present their concepts and engaged in Q&A

While all of the proposed concepts achieved high scores, the judges voted that Team 2, with their Mott Haven Fresh Farms concept, should win 1st place because they succeeded in delivering a robust business strategy,  a positive ecological impact plan, and identified critical stakeholders to execute the concept.


Workshop host Henry Gordon-Smith introduces the final presentations

Read the concept brief of Mott Haven Fresh later in this newsletter, and watch videos of all three presentation below.

Team 1: RockNGrow

Team 2: Mott Haven Fresh

Team 3: GridFarm


Mott Haven Fresh Farms takes first place at Agritecture design workshop in NYC


Mott Haven Fresh concept: read more here

Landscape Architect -  Megan Gardner

Hydroponic grower - Kate Ahearn

Entrepreneur – Dustin Betz

Engineer - Samantha Cohen

Marketing professional -  Evan Bromfield

Sustainability Manager - Erin McNally

Student (water) - Marivi Perdomo Caba

Student (energy) - Francois Cramer

Student (food) - Shaheen Contractor

Offering our members even more: AVF tools for business planning are under development

With the rapidly increasing number of businesses and institutions getting involved in Urban Agriculture and Vertical Farming, AVF and its members see the necessity for tools to guide the existing and new vertical 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.

Stemmed from the research of our board members Henry Gordon-Smith and Dr. Dickson Despommier, the AVF is developing a yield tool for indoor agriculture. Users of the AVF yield tool will be able to enter in some of the most popular crops for growing indoors, note the method of production (hydroponic or soil-based), and then enter in the area and number of layers they wish to estimate for. All indoor farming yield data can be easily compared to Open Field Agriculture (OFA) yield data in one place. Our hope is that the tool will be used for business planning and expand the number of vertical farms globally. Data for the tool is from a range of academic sources, including AVF member HAS University. If you are interested in submitting your yield data in exchange for free access to the tool, email us at 

AVF partners with GFIA 2015 to launch its first urban agriculture conference "Edible Cities" 


The AVF has been working hard with the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA) 2015 conference which will be held in Abu Dhabi on March 9th-11th. Specifically, AVF board members and members will be moderating several roundtables and speaking at the event.

Hans Hassle, CEO, Plantagon  (AVF business member) 

Gus van der Feltz, Global Director City Farming, Philips (AVF business member)
Oscar Rodriguez, Architecture and Food (AVF board member) 
Henry Gordon-Smith, Founder, (AVF board member) 
Maximilian Loessl, Founder, Agrilution (AVF board member) 
Professor Jasper den Besten, Professor in New Cultivation Systems, HAS University of Applied Sciences in Den Bosch (The Netherlands) (AVF board member) 


Already an AVF member? Get your discount code to the GFIA here!

Opportunity: Internship available with AVF

Looking to make your mark in the sustainability industry? Excited by the emerging field of vertical farming? The AVF has just posted one exciting new opportunity to take part in the future of farming. 

  • Research Analyst Intern

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

If you are interested in advertising in the AVF newsletter, please email us at:

Upcoming AVF Events:


13-14.02.2015 - Lisbon, Portugal, Thought For Food Global Summit 

09-11.03.2015 - Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture
29-30.03.2015 - Las Vegas, United States, Agritecture: Las Vegas Design Workshop
31.03.2015 - Las Vegas, United States, Indoor Ag-Con

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

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