5 innovations shaping the future of urban farming

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By 2050, nearly 80 per cent of the earth’s population will reside in urban centres, and over the same period of time, the earth’s population is expected to grow by an additional 3 billion people. Urban farming has long cropped up as an alternative to land-intensive farming methods, but the concept has expanded far beyond simple backyard farming. In this week’s Future of Food Tapas Series, we are presenting five innovative companies pushing the boundaries of what urban farming will look like in the future. Twitter

Plant-Filled Skyscrapers

Research project Skyfarm was developed by architecture firm Roger Stirk Harbour and Partners as a response to one of our biggest challenges of the future: lack of urban space. Crops are produced in multi-storey structures made of bamboo which support several layers of agricultural and aquaponics systems that enable the growth of crops and fish together in a recirculating system. The project won the World Architecture Festival’s Future Projects – Experimental category in 2014.


© Roger Stirk Harbour and Partners

Urban Farm Pods

Terreform ONE’s Plug-In Ecology is a “living” cabin that simultaneously allows individuals and nuclear families to grow food and produce energy. It can be outfitted with a number of optional systems to adapt to different locations, lighting conditions, and habitation requirements. The goal is for these inhabitable capsules to naturally grow over time.

Flat-packed Farms

The Impact Farm, by Human Habitat, can be described as the IKEA of farming. The flat-packed farm is transported and assembled in a shipping container, allowing it to be delivered and installed anywhere in less than 10 days. The result is a self-sufficient, two-story vertical hydroponic farm that produces high quality and pesticide-free greens.

Impact Farm

© Human Habitat

Agro-ecosystem Towers

The sustainable agro-ecosystem project Hyperions by Vincent Callebaut Architectures is capable of resisting climate change. The towers are planned to produce more energy than they consume and be constructed from wood sourced from the sustainably-managed Delhi forest. Wood was a natural choice with India being one of the ten countries in the world with the largest forest area. Hyperions combines sustainable agriculture and urban development by acting as both a cultural hub and a small-scale farm.


© Vincent Callebaut Architectures

Vertical Farming

INFARM has taken vertical farming to the next level by crafting a perfect synergy between hardware and software. Custom light recipes and climate control provide optimal growing conditions, and the modular design of the farms allows them to be evolve and expand on demand. Real-life examples can be found in the NENI restaurant and in a Berlin METRO supermarket, the first instore farm in Europe.

Urban farming is one reality of the future of food. For more glimpses into what is to come, browse the ideas submitted to our Future of Food & Beverages think tank. The world’s largest crowd-based think tank develops future scenarios of consumption, production, distribution, and communication of food and beverages. Twitter

Join us at the Future of Food conference in Berlin on October 28, 2016 to explore exciting food and beverages industry innovations and developments! Buy Tickets here.



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Katharina Brendel

Kat (she/her) is a storytelling and podcasting strategist. After studying journalism, she gained a boatload of marketing experience around the world (including at jovoto!) and co-founded CoWomen. Today, she collaborates with unheard voices to find, own, and spread their story through a podcast & beyond.