After many months of hard work, a lot of which had to be done online due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 outbreak, the teams participating in the second Urban Greenhouse Challenge heard which design was considered the best by the judges. During the grand finale event in Wageningen, which was broadcast online, the winning team was announced.
Before the overall winner was announced, another award was handed out: the partner prize. Each partner company of the challenge was able to nominate two of their favorite teams - the team getting the most votes, would win the partner prize.
Ingrid Kortekaas of Codema, one of the partners of the Urban Greenhouse Challenge, took to the stage to explain the value in participating. "It's valuable to work with students. They're innovative, and give us various ideas to cooperate in food programs like these", Ingrid said. "We particularly learned a lot from the open mindset of the teams. We mostly think very practically and have financial or technical barriers, but the students have an open mindset. In China everything is possible, so boundless ideas are very useful there."
After extending an open invitation to the participating students to join the Codema team in China, Ingrid announced the winner of the partner prize: coexist, which focuses on educating farmers of the future and reaching out to the community.
From design to reality
On the morning of the grand finale, the teams had already been grilled by the judges in a "Dragon's Den", answering some final questions and pitching their concepts to the jury. After a brief video summarizing those events, it was almost time to hear who the judges considered to be the best.
But first, Ren Xi, general manager of Country Garden Agriculture, called in from China to address the participants. Country Garden Agriculture is a subsidiary of Country Garden Group, the largest real estate company in the world. The company is interested in urban agriculture as a combination of agriculture and construction, Ren Xi explained. "We are looking forward to new, brilliant design ideas to help us in this project."
Asked to highlight a team that particularly intrigued him, he mentioned being surprised by team Bagua, who used Taoist philosophy in their concept. At the end of this segment, Ren Xi had a nice surprise for the teams. While it was impossible for them to visit the site due to the COVID-19 situation, he extended an invitation for them to visit later and work together with the design team to make this concept happen.
Representatives from each team then briefly shared their vision on the future of urban farming, after which the overall winner was announced: Team Bagua had managed to convince the judges with their design, focusing on balance throughout the concept. Read more about Team Bagua's winning concept here.