During the Green Juniors project at Inholland Delft, Tim van der Mout, Mathijs Teerds, Demy Huijsman, Floor van der Marel and Amarins Brandsma were given the opportunity to carry out market research into vertical farming at Wageningen University (WUR). Tim: "The choice for this assignment was quickly made, it appealed to me immediately.
Vertical farming is developing rapidly, not only due to economic developments. Growing crops in several layers in empty office buildings has positive knock-on effects. Cultivation becomes more sustainable and efficient, say proponents. Also, crop protection agents no longer need to be used at all times. Vertical horticulture can thus revolutionise the production of fresh vegetables, according to fans of the technique. By growing crops in layers under controlled conditions, guarantees can be given regarding the quantity and quality of the production, every day of the year, irrespective of the weather and climate (changes).
Added value of vertical farming among the target group
The students conducted research among young adults, young people between the ages of 18 and 30 who still have little knowledge of the subject. "We were asked to advise them on the most effective ways of communicating the added value of vertical farming to the target group."
The group, consisting of students from several study programs, immediately set to work on this. The mix of students did sometimes create extra work. "We as horticulture students were already familiar with this form of horticulture, but the girls from Food had to study it in depth first."
From 'horticulture to communication'
The further along in the project, the more communication came into play. "It was funny to see that when we started working with communication tools, the roles were reversed. Demy and Floor had more understanding in this area. We horticulture students learned a lot from this."
Tim said that he really enjoyed working on this project with students who did not come from his study program. "You also get to experience what it's like at a different school."
The result of vertical farming
In the end, the group was able to give WUR advice on how to proceed. "It was a very instructive assignment that gave us a lot of results from 500 respondents. We can conclude from this that the target group considers it important that the products they buy have been produced with fewer crop protection agents, emit less CO2 and are available all year round. Vertical farming fits in well with this."