• Vertical Farming Vertical Farming, © Technisches Museum Wien
Exhibition
The urban future

Vertical Farming

Cultivating without soil? Museum herbs, Swiss chard and strawberries in a museum? All of it is possible.

Throughout the run of the exhibition our plants will be growing on a hydroponics installation. Nutrients are supplied through a closed water circuit. 150 plants, stacked one on top of the other, with LED lighting. How do the plants in this room grow? How much light do they need, and what kind? This vertical garden will be a research facility for Vienna’s University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences. For two years.

Urban gardens have a long tradition. They’ve been around ever since cities first emerged. Surprised? In Antiquity they built hanging gardens, and the 19th century saw the appearance of allotments and small gardens in dense urban areas. In the 1960s Austrian engineer Othmar Ruthner came up with the idea of 40 m high greenhouse towers. A pioneer. The aim is to better understand and therefore optimise the amount of materials and energy required for such a ‘vertical farm’. It could give rise to a new ecological take on conventional farming. With less space needed, fewer pesticides, and a lower water consumption. On site and without long transport routes.

Cultivating without soil is called hydroculture. Hydro, of water. Or hydroponics. Ponos, of labour. The soil with its organic nutrients is replaced by a simpler substrate without nutrients. Here the nutrients are supplied in soluble form in the water. Researchers at Vienna’s University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences are experimenting with this type of farming. Once the scientists have determined what plants need and when, the supply of nutrients and light is controlled electronically. Growth factors become controllable, ideal for urban agriculture, for example on façades. Plus the inhabitants themselves get added noise and dust protection for free. Even empty offices, warehouses and apartments can be used for growing food in an urban environment.

Hydroponics installation
University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences / Horticultural Department
Anlagenbau Biotop GmbH mit Blümel horticultural automation and control technology



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