About us
We're a multidisciplinary team convinced in doing the right thing - supported by a strong network of experts.

01

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?

Our hard­core-def­i­n­i­tion:

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.

02

Our Team

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 Podmirseg
CEO

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
CSO

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.

Barbara Horstmeier
COO

Bar­bara’s exper­tise lies in project devel­op­ment as well as in mar­ket­ing, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and pub­lic rela­tions. These two areas are close­ly inter­wo­ven. An archi­tect who grad­u­at­ed from the Tech­ni­cal Uni­ver­si­ty of Munich, Bar­bara is also a grad­u­ate of the post­grad­u­ate pro­gram in Real Estate Man­age­ment and Val­u­a­tion at the Vien­na Uni­ver­si­ty of Tech­nol­o­gy and has been an MRICS (Mem­ber of the Roy­al Insti­tu­tion of Char­tered Sur­vey­ors) since 2014. For more than 20 years, she has been inten­sive­ly involved in the devel­op­ment and fur­ther devel­op­ment of inner-city urban quar­ters and mul­ti-pur­pose large-scale projects.

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

03

Our Vision

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.

04

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.

Our approach

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.

Your chance

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!

05

Global challenge and promising recommendations

Urbanization

“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 

Economy

“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 

Action

“Accel­er­ate urban ver­ti­cal food production!”

— Daniel Kats, Infarm Berlin at SKYBERRIES CONFERENCE

Start Typing