DolomiNet: building a network of vertical farms in the heart of Italian Alps
In 2019, the international student competition Urban Farm invited students from all over the world and different disciplines to join forces in order to reconvert three abandoned buildings into productive structures using soil-less technologies. One of the target locations was the abandoned school of Orzes village, in the Italian Alps, a mountain area that, along the last decades, has experienced lack of job opportunities and depopulation processes. Building on these social and economic obstacles, a landscape and collective re-generation project was designed in order to offer a new local economic identity, creating a network of indoor farms within abandoned buildings and targeting the production and processing of medicinal mushrooms and herbs. Such a network, called DolomiNet, defined the Orzes School as an administrative reference and productive model to be replicated and exported on the several abandoned buildings within the region. Furthermore, it allowed for the creation of a training and research centre within the former school, where future network members could be trained and investigation on new pharmaceutical products and lighting technologies could take place. The three pillars of innovation of the project stands on the following elements: 1) the forest biosystem: a sustainable productive model inspired by forest connections and based on CO2-O2 exchange among mushroom and plant growing chambers; 2) the green exoskeleton: a bioclimatic greenhouse applied on the building external shell with the double function of increasing productive volumes and provide thermal insulation to the building; 3) coofarming app: an immediate communication system between farmers and administrative centre, which concurrently guarantee a remote control of cultivation parameters.
Appolloni, E., Vitali, C., Petricciuolo, E., Minelli, G., Cleri, A., Cleri, E., Minni, L. and Orsini, F. (2020). DolomiNet: building a network of vertical farms in the heart of Italian Alps. Acta Hortic. 1298, 497-510
urban agriculture, indoor farming, soil-less, building reconversion