The DLG (German Agricultural Society) and the Association for Vertical Farming (AVF) are planning to enter a strategic partnership, to jointly promote the field of indoor and vertical farming, in Germany and rest of the world
Joint platforms for knowledge exchange, as well as an industry network will be created and common projects will further foster this relationship.
Although the terms urban farming, vertical farming, indoor farming or plant factories, are different when looked at in details, the focus remains the same: production of plant-based food in urban spaces, with limited space and partially closed systems.
The production in these conditions is more intensive, as with less space, environmental influences need to be precisely controlled. At the same time, the use of resources, such as water, nutrients and plant protection shall be reduced or sometimes, as in the case of plant protection, completely eliminated. This is only possible if the plants are isolated from pathogens and pests.
Some systems are hermetically sealed to prevent the entry of undesirable substances, which leads to air supply, water circulation and illumination being technically controlled and simulated.
"AVF's goal is to promote sustainable growth and development within the international vertical farming industry and community. The AVF promotes this through research projects, co-operations, events and the establishment of a network of companies, experts and research institutions that is actively involved in the vertical farming industry. With the DLG as an internationally active professional organisation and organiser of leading trade fairs and conferences, we are gaining a partner that reinforces the contents and strategies of vertical farming in international agricultural networks and promotes new platforms and channels of professional communication with agricultural practitioners," said Christine Zimmermann-Lössl, chairwoman of the AVF.
"The production of plant-based foods in urban areas represents a global growth market. In Asia in particular, where urbanisation is progressing faster and more intensively than in Europe, such farms are already economically viable. In Europe, especially in Germany, vertical farming practices are still in their infancy. However, Germany is at the forefront of research and is accompanying the trend toward indoor production of specialty crops away from agricultural land. After all, the latter is limited and continues to decline through alternative use. The DLG, together with its professional partner the Association for Vertical Farming, needs to focus on the future,” says Tobias Eichberg, managing director of DLG Exhibitions, in describing the market prospects.
In addition to creating platforms for joint exchange, the partnership will produce regular technical publications, and conduct surveys among farmers on current knowledge, as well as their perspectives on indoor and vertical farming. Both the organisations plan to jointly develop events as part of existing and new projects. For example, the AGRITECHNICA ASIA and HORTI ASIA events in Bangkok, Thailand; the International Vertical Farming & Food System Conference in Munich, Germany; as well as other new digital and in-person events.