vertical farm institute
Who we are
The vfi is a widely varied multidisciplinary team with specific expertises. It is embedded in an inter national research network all around vertical farming. Architects, engineers, plant physiologists and artists cover a wide spectrum of knowledge – essential to develop and implement new building typologies for vertical farms.
What is the vertical farm institute?
The vertical farm institute is a private research company fully dedicated to develop new building typologies for urban vertical food production. The mission is to radically reduce land-, water- and energy consumption.
What is a vertical farm?
Vertical Farming is defined as a highly industrialized year round cultivation method for food production, adaptable for multiple crop types, where the verticalized building typology, its programme and functions primarily focus on optimium plant growth. The building is seen as a structural element of the urban ecosystem. In addition to food production, the Vertical Farm must incorporate elements of the food sector which, at present, are spatially detached from each other on a global scale, something which has a severe impact on energy consumption and the environment.
Our Core Team
The vertical farm institute company emerged from the vfi association - founded in 2016. Since the association was primarily focussing on basic research, with our new partners from academia and industry the company today is developing feasibility studies on a building and urban level for food production.
Daniel is Architect. He studied in Vienna at the University of Technology, University of Applied Arts and the Academy of Fine Arts where he presented his diploma on Vertical Farming for London in 2008. He received his doctorate in technical sciences. His doctoral thesis on the “Contribution of Vertical Farms to increase the overall Energy Efficiency of Cities” was developed at Graz University of Technology at the Institute for Buildings and Energy. This link will take you to an extended cv.
Tiffany Tsui brings to vfi her pioneering vision, strategic thinking across regions and disciplines and strong conviction in developing green futures as proven by her successful international career. Starting from just in her 20s, Tiffany pioneered the development of the ‘Green Buildings’ market in China which is estimated to be about 6.5 billion square meters in 2022. After receiving her Masters education from Harvard University , she founded the China operation of EMSI in 2001, the first international firm to pioneer a successful business model for LEED certified ‘Green Buildings’ for the Chinese market. Tiffany and Daniel have been executive board members of the vfi association and now Partner of the vfi company.
Architecture and Energy, Software Development
Martin is Architect with key expertise in energy design, parametric modelling and simulation. Since 2021 he is part of the vfi and responsible for software development (Vertical Farm Calculator) and parametric design. He’s involved in several research and development projects. Since 2019, also, he is director of the Department of Experimental Design at the Faculty of Architecture in Brno, University of Technology.
System analysis and Plant Physiology
Valentin studies at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna. He’s taking care of our prototypes, e.g. at Technical Museum in Vienna. He’s responsible for system analysis, plant physiology and product development for small-scale indoor-vertical farms.
We’re expanding and hiring!
For our urban design studies, feasibility studies and R&D-projects we are looking for support. Perhaps it’s you to be interested?
Just send a short motivation letter to firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch!
The vertical farm institute association, general assembly in 2020 before becoming a company.
From left to right: David Schmidmayr, Florian Hofer, Raphael Thonhauser, Walter Hötzendorfer, Vera Enzi, Timo Marschall, Daniel Podmirseg, Thomas Zoellner, GErt Zechner, Andrea Dorsch, Helmut Holleis, Tiffany Tsui, Jasmin Rotter, Lucas Kulnig, Fabrizio Borello, Doris Steinacher-Arth, Alaeldin Mohammed, Gerhard Hofer, Elvira Poschkö, Michael Lechner
The future of food
Vertical farms preserve our ecosystem in many ways. By utilizing vertical space instead of floor space, only a fraction of the land area used in conventional farming is required for food production. The building envelope, new irrigation systems, and lighting methods enable food production regardless of the weather - all year round. We think of materials and resources as recirculating systems: Wastewater becomes irrigation water again, plant residues become heat via biogas. This contributes significantly to urban food security.
What is meant by local and regional food?
For 11,000 years, we produced our food in the places where we consumed it. We now want to restore this practice. Organic, fresh, local produce is produced right in the city at the consumer’s doorstep. What we produce in a vertical farm we can also grow, process, package, sell and eat there. Our relationship to this food produced and consumed in the place is finally holistically regional again.
New professions and experts emerge
A vertical farm is not only diverse in its uses, but creates new professions and jobs in all of its core areas: In cultivation, plant supply and technology, harvesting and processing, and sales and catering. Inclusive projects are also already being successfully managed in practice today. Beyond that, there are no limits to imagination: public spaces can be reimagined and enlivened for recreation and collaboration, social interactions will take on new meaning, and local economic interactions will emerge.
Too late to be a pessimist.
The ongoing process
The city of the future will no longer be structurally comparable to the modernist city. The design practice of the last eighty years has brought us to really great challenges that will lead to radical changes in the system in ecological, social and economic terms. This new environment allows for much greater involvement of various stakeholders from art, science and business. In addition, the fact of shaping the city of the future is an invitation for all those who have found it difficult to be an integral part of existing decision-making processes. The supply of healthy food throughout the year affects us all, especially city dwellers.
It‘s a hell of an exciting time we live in. There‘s so much to do. Every challenge can lead us to great opportunities. The keys are: Design. Confidence. Energy.
The vertical farm institute meets these and other challenges with courage, drive and innovation. Here you can find all our offers. Join us! Become part of a movement that brings more freshness to the city and allows food production to reclaim urban space. Meet us at our events, discuss with us on Facebook or apply to join us - become part of our international network and the future of food, too!
Global challenge and promising recommendations
“Whether we want it or not, urbanisation is continuing to happen. By the middle of this century, nearly two thirds of human kind will live in cities.
The city of the future demands both food security and food of the best quality. Yield increase is currently only provided by increasing efficiency. But the world population is growing faster than the increase in productivity.”
– Franz Fischler, former president Forum Alpbach and supporter of the vfi
“Who owns the vertical farm? Which economic system guarantees the resilient city? Urban socio-economic networks have to be strenthened.”
– Saskia Sassen at SKYBERRIES CONFERENCE, organized by vfi
“Accelerate urban vertical food production!”
— Daniel Kats, Infarm Berlin at SKYBERRIES CONFERENCE