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Vertical Farming and Development of Sustainable Urban Food Systems 2015

Association for Vertical Farming Summit 2015 in Beijing China. For more information, visit their website:

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Vertical Farming and Development of Sustainable Urban Food Systems 2015

  1. 1. Ver$cal  farming  and  the  development   of  sustainable  and  just  urban  food  systems   Ir.  Henk  de  Zeeuw,  RUAF  Founda$on   AVF-­‐RUAF-­‐IEDA  Ver-cal  Farming  Summit  9-­‐10  May  2015,  Beijing  
  2. 2. RUAF FOUNDATION •  A  not-­‐for-­‐profit  center  of  exper$se  on  urban  agriculture   •  Established  by  8  interna$onal  Resource  centers  on   Urban  Agriculture  and  Food  security  in  1998.     •  Opera$ng  in  20  countries  (South  and  North)   •  Aiming  to  facilitate  the  development  of  sustainable,   resilient  and  socially  just  urban  food  systems   •  By  (together  with  local  stakeholders):   •  Mapping  and  analyzing  urban  food  systems   •  Advising  local  authori$es  on  urban  food  policies   •  Analyzing  and  diffusing  innova$ons  in  urban   agriculture  (publica$ons,  journal,  database,  website)   •  Facilita$ng  local  innova$ve  research  and  
  3. 3. Ver$cal  farming  and  the  development   of  sustainable  and  just  urban  food  systems  
  4. 4. How  to  understand:  “urban  food  system”?   UN-­‐FAO  (2014):   •  The  complex  set  of  actors,  linkages  and  processes   •  related  to  food  produc$on,  processing,  market-­‐ing,   consump$on  and  related  input  provision,  wastes   management  and  support  services     •  in  a  given  geographical  region,  including  one  main  or   several  smaller  urban  cen-­‐tre(s)  and  surrounding   peri-­‐urban  and  rural  areas            City  region  food  system    
  5. 5. City  region  food  system  
  6. 6. Some  criteria  for  a  sustainable  and  just  urban  food  system     •  Secured  access  to  affordable,  nutri$ous   and  safe  food  for  all  ci$zens   •  A  vibrant  and  economically  sustainable   local  food  economy   •  The  urban  food  system  is  more     resilient  (resistant  to  shocks  /  less   dependent  on  far  away  food  sources)   •  The  ecological  foot  print  of  the  urban   food  system  is  minimized   •  Urban  organic  wastes,  wastewater,   excess  heat,  CO2,  by-­‐products,…,  are   used  as  resources  in  local  food   produc$on   •  Urban  agriculture  is  widely  used  to   create  be^er  urban  living  condi$ons    
  7. 7. How  to  understand  “ver-cal   farming”?   •  Some  tendencies  that  -­‐in  my  view-­‐  need  to  be  corrected:   -­‐  Urban  agriculture  is  not  just  ver$cal  farming  (pictures)       -­‐  Ver$cal  farming  is  not  just  very  advanced  semi-­‐closed  and   closed  systems    (pictures)   -­‐  Urban  farming  is  not  just  plant  produc$on     •  Each  type  of  urban  agriculture  has  its  own  contribu$ons   to  the  development  of  sustainable  and  just  urban  food   systems   •  Mass  food  produc$on  is  not  the  only  func$on  of  urban   agriculture   •  Policy  makers  need  to  give  proper  a^en$on  to  all  types   of  urban  and  ver$cal  farming  and  not  put  its  eggs  all  in   one  basket  (high  tech  indoor  farming)  (Jing  di  zhi  wa)  
  8. 8. Comparison  of  two  types  of  urban   agriculture  in  the  light  of  the   development  of  sustainable  food  systems   •  Open  air  urban  agriculture   •  Fully  closed  indoor  plant  produc$on  
  9. 9. 1.  Open  air  urban  agriculture      
  10. 10. Is  part  of  urban  green  infrastructure:  interconnected   green  zones  and  corridors  in  and  around  city  centre(s)            
  11. 11.     •  Variety  of  fresh  vegetables,  fruits   and  other  perishable  food  items   •  Mul$-­‐func$onal  land  use:   combina$on  with  recrea$on,   water-­‐  and    landscape-­‐   management  ,  biodiversity   •  Eco-­‐services:  reducing  urban  heat,   capturing  CO2  and  dust,  storm   water  infiltra$on,  reuse  of  urban   organic  wastes  and  wastewater,   soil  remedia$on     •  Social  func$ons:  community   building;  improving  access  of   urban  poor  to  food  and  income   •  Mainly  family  farms,  SME’s,  social   entreprises       •  Short  &  alterna$ve  food  chains   (producers  to  consumers)   •  Low  to  medium  output;     •  Oeen  high  land  pressure  
  12. 12. •  Closed  environment;  advanced   technology:  led  lights,  climate  control,   circular  resource  flows,  automa$on/   organic  engineering  systems   •  Mass  produc$on  of  few  products  with   uniform  standard  quality   •  Lower  resource  use  per  unit  of   output:  land,  water,  fer$lizers,   pes$cides   •  High  energy  use  and  related  CO2   emissions   •  High  ini$al  investment   •  Mainly  large  entreprises;  increasing   dominance  in  urban  food  system   •  Risk  of  social  exclusion  (small  farmers,   SMEs,  poor  urban  consumers)   2.  indoor  farming  
  13. 13. Conflict  or  synergy?   •  Largely  separated  working   spheres;    Oeen  mutually  nega$ve   images   •  Both  approaches  are  needed  to   build  sustainable  &  resilient   urban  food  systems:  in  urban   food  systems  land  sparing   innova$on  complements  land   sharing  innova$on   •  More  interac$on  and   coopera$on  is  needed  between   actors  in  both  spheres   •  City  authories  to  lead  the  design   of  a  comprehensive  agro-­‐food   policy  in  the  city  region  with   mul$-­‐stakeholder  involvement                  
  14. 14. Challenges  for  advanced  ver-cal  farming   1.  Further  dras-c  reduc-on  of  energy   use     (to  reduce  produc$on  costs  and  reduce   related  green  house  gas  emissions);   –  For  now:  Preference  for  systems  that   (also)  use  sunlight  (un$l  ….)     –  Further  innova$on  in  energy   efficiency:  LED  light  efficiency,  use  of   geothermal  energy;  underground   storage  of  excess  heat/cold  for  later   use;    adap$ng  climate  management  to   plant  processes:  use  of  outdoor  air  for   cooling  and  reduc$on  of  humidity   (rather  than  aircon$oning),  an$-­‐ reflec$ve  glass  coa$ng,  etcetera).    
  15. 15. 2.  Integra-on  with  the  urban  metabolism:       •  Use  of  urban  “wastes”  as  resources  in  food   produc$on:     –  Methane  from  landfills  or  biogasdigestors  of  organic   wastes  to  generate  energy  and  heat  for  greenhouses  /   plant  factories   –  Use  of  excess  heat,  CO2  and  cooling  water  from   nearby  industry   –  Collec$on  of  rainwater  from  surrounding  roofs;   –  Recovery  of  nutrients  from  urban  organic  wastes  and   urine  to  replace  chemical  fer$lizers     –  Realizing  synergies  by  interconnec$ng  plant   produc$on  with  other  types  of  urban  farming  (fish,   poultry,  mushrooms,  algae,  …)      
  16. 16. 3.  Preven-on  of  social  exclusion:     –  Changes  in  the  business  models  and  the  organisa$on   of  the  food  chain  in  order  to  enhance  access  of  all   ci$zens  to  nutri$ous  food  at  affordable  prices  and  to   enable  par$cipa$on  of  small  scale  and  medium   entreprises.   –  Prevent  compe$on  with  exis$ng  vegetable  growers  in   the  city  region.  Focus  plant  factories  at  “out  of  season”   products  and  products  that  can  not  be  produced  in  the   city  region  otherwise?.       –  Also  government  support  for  SME’s  and  social   entreprises  engaging  in  (small  and  medium  scale)   ver$cal  farming   –  Facilita$ng  coopera$on  (e.g.  contract  farming,  joint   marke$ng  arrangements,  technical  support)  between   larger  entreprises    and  small  farmers  willing/able  to   engage  in  ver$cal  farming  
  17. 17. 4.  Adapta-on  of  urban  land  use  planning  and   building  regula-ons     –  Clear  urban  food  policy  (prepared  with  ci$zen   involvement):  what  kinds  of  urban  agriculture  we   want,  where  and  why?   –  Adapta$on  of  building  regula$ons  and  zoning   regula$ons  to  enable  ver$cal  farming  on/in  exis$ng   and  new  buildings  whilst  preven$ng  nega$ve  impacts   and  conflicts  of  interest.       –  Clear  norms  /  targets    regarding  resource  use   efficiency,  total  GhG  emission,  use  of  renewable   energy  sources,  etcetera   –  For  now:  Give  priority  to  retrofimng  of  abandoned   factories  and  offices  for  indoor  farming     –  Get  real  estate  companies  and  social  housing   coopera$ons  more  coopera$ve  (mutual  interest;   social  responsibility)  
  18. 18.          THANK  YOU       E-­‐mail:     Website:    
  19. 19.   various  forms  of  urban  hor$culture  (back)      
  20. 20. Various  types  of  rooeop  hor$culture   (pictures)  
  21. 21. CITYFOOD:  Linking  Ci-es  on  Urban   Agriculture  and  Urban  Food  Systems   Joint  ICLEI  /  RUAF  ini-a-ve:   •  City  hub:  Ci$es  present    on  line   their  urban  food  policies  and   ac$ons  and  their  results     •  Community  of  Prac-ce:     Prac$$oners  share  best  prac$ces   and  mutually  assist  in  problem   solving   •  On  line  Compendium:  fact  sheets,   business  models,  guidelines  and   tools     •  Training  and  technical  support   services   You  are  invited  to  join  CITYFOOD;   Contact:  or  
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