From microgarden technologies to vertical farms: innovative growing solutions for multifunctional urban agriculture
In response to the growth of urban population and the reduction of resources availability (e.g., arable land, water, and nutrients), new forms of agriculture that can be developed also in urban environment are gaining increasing popularity. Urban agriculture constitutes a viable opportunity for improving the city food security, also fostering local and circular economies, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability. In the different world regions, a diversity of urban farming systems is encountered, with technological levels varying in response to the local socio-economic context, infrastructural networks, and environmental conditions. In developing economies from the South of the world, most interesting innovations include simplified hydroponics, organoponics, and microgarden technologies; whereas, in the global north, innovative solutions for plant cultivation also include rooftop greenhouses and indoor vertical farms with artificial lighting where vegetable crops, mushrooms, and algae may be grown. Beside plant growing solutions, innovation may also stand in the system integration and mutual relationship with the urban fabric (e.g., in terms of resource use or ecosystem service provisioning), or in the business model adopted. The present review paper will describe a number of innovative solutions for plant cultivation in the urban environment, with a special consideration of the economic, environmental, and social sustainability.
Appolloni, E., Orsini, F., Michelon, N., Pistillo, A., Paucek, I., Pennisi, G., Bazzocchi, G. and Gianquinto, G. (2020). From microgarden technologies to vertical farms: innovative growing solutions for multifunctional urban agriculture. Acta Hortic. 1298, 59-70
urban horticulture, building integrated agriculture, vertical farming, microgarden technologies, business models