AVF Award Winners Shine at 2016 Summit

The Association for Vertical Farming held their annual summit on June 13, 2016 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Inter-Farm-Market, the winning team from the recent AVF vertical farming competition, attended the Summit to learn more about the vertical farming industry and present their winning design pitch.

Vice Chairs Henry Gordon-Smith and Max Loessl welcomed attendees to the Summit and introduced Christine Zimmerman –Loessl to the stage for the first lecture. Columbia University’s Dr. Dickson Despommier gave the keynote speech, “The Vertical Farm as the Ecosystem of the City.”

Team Inter-Farm-Market took center stage and presented their unique design pitch to a crowded audience. Team leader Zhao Wei Kim spearheaded the presentation, explaining how their vertical farm focuses on community support by forming a mini-ecosystem that empowers people.

“The AVF Summit was so inspiring and the trip has benefited me in many ways, reassuring my effort and aim,” said Kim.

VP of Turnkey Lighting Solutions Paul Hardej and Director of Research and Development Rebecca Knight joined the team to award the $5,000 prize money, sponsored by Illumitex.

“I felt really proud to represent Illumitex on stage and present the check to such a talented team,” said Knight. “All the teams were inspiring but to be able to present the 1st place winner, that was truly exciting,”

Paul Hardej presented, “How to Address the Architectural, Construction and Building Code Challenges for Vertical Farms” to more than 200 attendees. Hardej discussed the challenges that come with architectural design how important the planning process is to creating a successful vertical farm.

In addition to speakers, the AVF Summit offered design and science workshops for participants to work together and create a solution. Knight’s team was given the task to design a vertical farm for circular economy urban community with strict guidelines. The group spent 50 minutes to create a plan and chose Knight to present their vertical farming concept to the entire workshop class.

“My favorite part was the breakout session because I was able to engage and brainstorm with people I had never met,” said Knight.

The Association for Vertical Farming Summit helped set the tone for the GreenTech 2016. From government policies, to utilizing different techniques like farming insects, the summit encouraged innovation and new technology to help create a more sustainable world.

“I had tears in my eyes when the AVF team invited all participants onto the stage for a group photo,” said Hardej. “The size of the event showed me how much progress we have all made. I was very proud to be surrounded by those people and felt a true feeling of comradery.”

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