How much food can be produced in a one-square-metre space?
Only by accepting the challenge posed by this question we will be able to meet the future food and environmental needs of a rapidly growing world population. This is the conviction of Matteo Benvenuti and the Vertical Farm Italia group, who accepted the invitation by Studio Comelli and Fiera di Pordenone s.p.a. for NovelFarm 2020 (which will be held at the Pordenone trade fair on 19 and 20 February 2020) and came up with the TOTEM FARM project, an installation that brings spectators to the vertical farms of the future. When you enter inside it, a mirror effect gives you the sensation of being a “sky farmer“, suspended between fruits and vegetables.
TOTEM FARM is a genuine and fully operational vertical farm, created through collaboration between Vertical Farm Italia and some companies. With overall dimensions in plan view of just over one square metre, the structure is capable of growing over 400 plants at a time through a hydroponic system, in a controlled environment that is automated and independent of external conditions.
The LED lights required for the photosynthesis of the plants were made by C-LED, a leading company in the sector, which produced a lamp for the occasion with a specific light spectrum, particularly effective for indoor farming. AQUATRONICA developed a special monitoring and remote-control system of the structure and TECO provided the cooling system for the nutritional solution. HY-TEX produced the cultivation substrate and the structure was created by C.N.C. The project was set up in rooms provided by the Municipality of Torrita di Siena.
With the TOTEM FARM project, we accepted the challenge of maximising production per m2, with the emphasis placed on optimisation of the occupied soil area, two key factors underlying the future development of vertical farms. In these terms, therefore, TOTEM FARM has symbolic value for all those who want to tackle the challenges facing the agri-food sector.
The TOTEM FARM project will continue for about two months after the conclusion of NovelFarm 2020 as the vertical farm will produce vegetables for use in numerous other events organised by Fiera di Pordenone spa. To continue along the path of innovation towards the future, Pordenone Fiere has decided to donate the TOTEM FARM to a local entity, where it will continue to provide its produce.
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