Vertical Farming Project
Green Transformation AS is honoured to work with the International Centre for Entrepreneurship in Wroclaw to develop products and services to grow the practice of Vertical Gardening, Vertical farming, Urban Microfarms and other related products and services to enhance green infrastructure and the sustainability of the built environment.
The development is funded by a Grant form the Norwegian Fund through PARP.
International Center for Entrepreneurship, together with a Partner institution from Norway – Green Transformation AS, and a group of colleagues has got the grant from the Norwegian Fund, nr NORW.19.01.04-02-0046/20-001. The planned activities include the development and implementation of innovations in the area of: environmental technologies.
The objective of the project is the development of entrepreneurship and innovation in a company owned and operated by a woman with the participation of other women in pursuit of sustainable green business development objectives in cooperation with entities from Norway and with relevant Polish research and development centres of professional know-how.
The aim of the project is consistent with the general objective of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2020 and aligned with the aim and scope of the “Entrepreneurship Development and Innovation” Programme as well as those of the Grant Scheme for Women Entrepreneurs.
DELIVERABLES AND RESULTS
Green Transformation AS is contracted to deliver mentoring services and advisory services in connection with vertical gardening, vertical farming and related services. In relation to the mentoring there were developed and delieved a mentoring program divided in to 2 phases:
Phase 1: Knowledge sharing and capacity building. The goal and purpose of this phase is to build sufficient capacity to develop and implement the intended innovations in the project.
Phase 2: Development and evaluation of new innovations and concepts, relevant for the entrepreneur’s context.
Phase 1 goals and activities:
1. Understanding of the Global market for vertical gardens and urban micro farms, how it has evolved over the last few years, including actors and various types of solutions on the market. From the mentoring sessions and material shared – the mentee should be capable of creating a market overview that is relevant for her context and be able to identify niches and opportunities for new innovations and/or demonstrating and scaling up existing innovations in her context.
2. Knowing a number of cases and examples that demonstrate hight-tech, low tech and a combination of high- and low-tech solutions for Urban Microforms and Vertical gardens. From the cases shared and discussed the mentee should be able to assess the technology and business models used and draw ideas and inspirations to what can be viable in her context, and for her own innovations.
The mentoring in this phase will consist of scheduled online meetings for discussions, and shared material relevant to the goals in addition to any planned study visits.
After phase 1 the mentee should have sufficient knowledge to also create presentations, workshops and other material in order to inform and engage relevant stakeholders in relations to developing intended innovations in her context.
Mentoring for phase 1 was delivered during 2022 and the spring of 2023.
Phase 2 Goals and activities
Fort the mentoring services related to phase 2 the International centre for entrepreneurship opted to include an intern to go through a learning process in order to assist in process og developing and evaluating innovations and concepts within the vertical farming context. The intern was a Master student at the Univercity of Bologna studying presicion agruiculture. The mentoring plan was created to ensure the intern could make meaningful and useful contributions to the Vertical Farming Project.
Purpose of mentoring sessions:
- Support the intern in his tasks during the internship at Centre for Entrepreneurship.
- Learning the innovation process through a real-life development to benefit the Vertical Farming project.
- Learning points in relation to sustainable development, systems thinking, circular economy and regenerative agriculture as it relates to the projects and tasks delegated to the intern.
The mentoring was conducted in the period october through december 2023, and the intern was given tasks to solve between the mentoring sessions
Task 1: Create a presentation on precision agriculture
Task 2: Create a technology report related to state of the art technology for precision agriculture
Task 3: Create a reflection report on the learning and main points from the mentoring sessions on the innovation process, and how it can be useful in the interns context and future aspirations.
Task 4: Assess the local market for technologies related to precision agriculture and indoor high tech vertical agriculture. Actors, projects, initiatives, research, suppliers, existing and potential customers e.t.c.
The market research should result in an evaluation of the maturity of the local market for sensor technologies and IoT in relation to vertical gardening and vertical farming, indoor and outdoor solutions.
Task 5: Develop 5-10 concept and ideas for using sensors and IoT in connection with vertical gardens and micro farming indoors and outdoors that could be a market match for the local market.
Task 6 Select 1-3 promising ideas and develop a business model for commercializing these ideas using a business model canvas, and/or a flourishing business model canvas. Create a pitch deck to present for potential pilot customers (willing to pilot test the suggested solution) Create a pitch deck to present for potential early-stage investors (Seedfunds and Angel Investors)
Task 7: Suggest a plan for proof of concept and/or a pilot to verify the selected technologies and business model. Develop/suggest an MVP if relevant. Look in to and evaluate available and/or potentially available funding mechanisms for piloting.
Task 8: Suggest a strategy for going to market and for scaling. Develop and describe a suggested customer journey for the solution. Identify and investigate potential funding mechanisms for going to market and scaling. Summarise the suggestions in a short strategy document.
The advisory services are sheduled for spring 2024, with an aim to support the develop of processes and services enabling and supporting a rapid scale up of vertical
gardens and microfarms in the Polish market.
The art of vertical gardening and green walls
What is a Vertical Garden?
A Vertical garden is a type of garden where one take advantage of growing plants in a vertical direction. This can be done on standalone structures but is often incorporated on to walls of buildings. This is referred to as living walls or green walls. It is also possble to include edible plants, creating a vertical farm.
Vertical gardens can be constructed in many different ways, using a variety of materials such as special planters, trellises, or containers. They can be either indoor or outdoor and vary in size and complexity. Anything from small herb gardens, or a trellis of tomatoes on a balcony, to large multi-story installations.
Here are some well know international examples
The Bosco Verticale, Milan, Italy: This residential tower is covered in over 90 species of trees trees and 15,000 plants. The area is equivalent of a 3 hectare forest and absorbs 30 tons of carbon dioxide every year. In addition, it represents a wealth of biodiversity. The building has received several awards including the International Highrise Award 2014, the Best Tall Building Europe and the Best Tall Building Worldwide in 2015.
Santalaia, in Bogota features an 8-story residential building, covered with green walls. The Santalaia building is also using water from the apartments’ showers for irrigation. Another technical detail is humidity and radiation sensors to optimize water consumption as well as a water treatment plant so as not to have any water waste.
Benefits of Vertical Gardening
Vertical gardening has many benefits, and here is a few important ones:
It is already established knowledge that green infrastructure in Cities has a very positive effect on human health and wellbeing, as well as a number of positive effects for the environment. However Cities has limited space between building, so increasing green space necessitates being creative when increasing green infrastructure. In addition to the benefits for human health and the environment, there are also many commercial benefits in relation to implementing green walls and vertical gardens on buildings. Here is a few:
- Space-saving: Vertical gardens can be grown in tight spaces where traditional gardening is not possible.
- Improved air quality: Plants are known to purify the air by absorbing harmful pollutants and releasing oxygen.
- Aesthetic appeal: Vertical gardens can be visually appealing and add a natural element to indoor and outdoor spaces
- Improved insulation: They can help insulate buildings by reducing the amount of heat and cold that passes through walls
- Enhanced customer experience: Vertical gardens can enhance the customer experience by creating a more inviting and relaxing environment. This can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
- Improved air quality: Plants are known to purify the air by absorbing harmful pollutants and releasing oxygen. By improving air quality, vertical gardens can help create a healthier environment for employees and customers.
- Energy savings: Vertical gardens can help reduce energy costs by providing insulation and shade to buildings. This can lead to lower heating and cooling bills.
- Increased productivity: Studies have shown that exposure to plants can lead to increased productivity and creativity in the workplace. Installing a vertical garden in a commercial space can therefore lead to a more productive workforce.
- Marketing opportunities: Vertical gardens can be used as a marketing tool to attract customers and promote sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.
In conclusion: Installing a vertical garden on buildings can increase its aesthetic appeal, enhance human wellbeing and productivity, provide environmentally attractive benefits, and thus lead to higher property values.