City Farming
City farming is a new direction in agriculture. With this approach products are grown in the city without delivery to the city from agroholdings. It provides the independence of the crop from climatic and economic conditions, and savings on logistics' and resources' costs. Reducing costs allows suppliers to reduce the cost of products. And of course people get the opportunity to eat fresh vegetables and salad.

The concept of city farming originated in 2012 in Singapore, where firstly there was used vertical landscaping for creating a farm on the roof of a skyscraper. Today, this approach has been adopted by many countries with a high population density. In old factories or warehouses city farmers grow greens, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, radishes. Cultivated plants must be small and do not grow high up, because they are placed on shelves limited in height. About 40% of the total volume of products grown in this way is microgreens. These products can be produced nearby with the consumer and delivered to in 2-3 hours.

There are different opportunities to practice city farming. One solution is vertical farms, where the production of plants is organized without soil. Such systems have already existed in many areas: vertical garden beds are located in basements or on the roofs of buildings. Another option is bioponics, which uses organic fertilizers; and aquaponics, when constructing a closed system with fish and plant growing together, that combines aquaculture and hydroponics.
UrbaniEco
Universal Problem
Food production by large producers requires large areas. They use pesticides, leading to contamination of soil and food. Long logistics increases the cost of products and causes a deterioration of product quality due to long-term transportation and storage.
Solution
Creation of vertical farms can produce fresh greens in the city.
Target Image
In the future, fresh greens are grown year-round on city farms right in cities and delivered to the consumer in 1-3 hours. It saves land resources, delivery and storage costs.
Experiment Framework
It started as an educational project. Tatiana Dubovskaya presented the project of the city-farming school in the Innovation Education competition in 2016. They decided to make a smart greenhouse, which can be put in restaurants. Each shelf of the prototype had its own microclimate control remotely. Then they made several pilots for stores and restaurants in Moscow. The project remains the problem of high prices for electricity. In the future, technology will reduce these costs.
Tools and Technologies
  • Vertical automated smart greenhouses and city farms using hydro-, aero- and aquaponics
  • City farming school: online courses, webinars, excursions, internships
  • IT for plant care: from watering to light control
Scaling plans
  • In 2021, the company intends to collect 400 tons of products per year from an area of 10 thousand square meters. They would like to expand in retail chains, schools, offices.
  • In 20 years, they plan to create a community for the development of city farming.
  • Within 30 years, they plan to form the habit to consume fresh greens from city farms in the winter.
Standards and Values
  • Reduction of arable land around the city
  • Pure products with standard quality
  • High yields compared to traditional method
  • Delivery of fresh product to the consumer from the city farm should take no more than an hour
  • Business is organized mainly by IT specialists
  • Self-sufficiency
Communities and Leaders
  • Community organizer Tatiana Dubovskaya
  • On-line educational platform Urbanieco,
  • Sale and maintenance of hydroponic equipment company (urbanieco.ru)
  • Construction of automated vertical city farms (urbanifarm.ru)
  • Vertical city-farms for growing spicy greens "Local Roots"(localroots.ru)
Allies
  • Retailer "Lenta"
  • Manufacturer of similar products iFarm
What you can do to join the practice of city farming now:
Learn more about the city farming from Tatyana Dubovskaya
Meet with specialists from the city farmer communities (for example, UrbaniEco), and take part in master classes, laboratories, schools, take an internship
Become a volunteer in city farmer communities.
Develop a mini city-farm, start growing microgreens or berries based on hydroponics in your flat, country house or school.
Conduct a survey of your area to identify people or households practicing city farming. You can put information about them on our map or join them.
Organize your Kruzhok or a community with parents and friends.