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Managing a vertical farm

Vertical farming (indoor farming without daylight) is a development, that takes horticulture to another level. With Light Emitting Diodes (LED) it is possible to offer plants the perfect light conditions, while other climatic factors are also completely controlled. Since there are no further external factors influencing the climate, all decisions can and have to be made by the grower. HAS University has more than 10 years of experience in successfully growing crops exclusively lit by LED in both research and large-scale production cells. We now offer a production management course to share our knowledge and experience with professionals from horticulture and related industries with special interest in vertical or city farming.

Course outline

The applied course consists of 4 days ranging between theoretical and practical applications of vertical farm management. We focus on the practical part of managing a vertical farm. In the different modules we give insight into the growth and yield of different crops, sowing/growing/(post)-harvest techniques, building, running and maintaining a vertical farm, hygiene and sanitation regulation, business case development and a broad overview of Dutch partners to start your vertical farm with.

You will follow the first part of the course in the e-learning mode in your own country in your own time. If you already completed the course Growing without daylight, this is not necessary anymore. Then you come to the Netherlands for the practical training. Great advantage: HAS University has her own vertical farming facilities. Also we will visit different vertical farms. See below how we can use our own facilities in the course.

Several crops are grown under different LED production modules in our research cell. The choice of crops and light recipes are made jointly by course participants and lecturers. Different practical sowing, transplanting and harvesting techniques will be discussed and shown during the course. You can therefore see your crop grow in real time and estimate their own yield potential. Furthermore, you are shown how to maintain, run and troubleshoot your own vertical farm. Several partners will be visited to gain further practical knowledge and we offer different network opportunities in the evening with suppliers of climate chambers, light, software, climate computers , etcetera in vertical farming.

Program outline

Subject to any changes in order

Day 1: Location Brightbox Venlo

Introduction

Welcome and a short introduction to vertical farming

Crops, varieties and yield potential

This modules describes crops which are potentially interesting to grow under LEDs in a vertical farm. Within a crop, varieties or cultivars can make a difference in both quantity and quality of the harvest. Yields will be discussed for a range of crops. Some crops will be harvested by the participants, weight will be determined and calculations done for yield in fresh weight per m2 per day, dry weight per m2 per day, fresh weight per mol PAR-light, dry weight per mol PAR-light, energy input per fresh or dry weight. Light will be measured under different (LED)-lights with different devices (from a simple cell phone app to a spectrometer) for light measurement and a protocol for light measurement will be used. Some crops will be harvested after more and less days after sowing, so that participant realize what the impact on yield is when plants are harvested in or even before the steep part in the growing curve (babyleaves for instance).

Day 2 : Location HAS University of Applied Sciences

Seeds, sowing, substrates, transplanting practical part
During this module you learn how to sow, germinate and transplant/space different crops and learn about alternative methods. Also attention is paid to different substrates for sowing and plant raising, plant breeding companies, seed suppliers, seed quality (naked, graded, primed, pelleted), seed storage and variety choice. We will visit different farms to see more automation, different growing techniques, etcetera in other program parts.

Substrates, water cultivation systems and fertilizer application

This module focusses on characteristics of and cultivation in different substrates in combination with water delivery systems like aeroponics, hydroponics, dry hydroponics, ebb-and flow, Nutrient Film Technique. Calculation of fertilizer solutions, preparing of A- and B-tank, checking water EC, pH, temperature and O2 plus sampling, reading the sample analysis and reacting to the analysis. Radiation summ in relation to water use will be made clear. Systems for water treatment will be explained.

Evening day 2 or 4: Network possibilities

We invite different suppliers of vertical farm technologies/equipment. After enrollment, we will discuss with you your wishes and we will invite the partners.

Day 3: company ( to be determined)

Climate settings (including light) and control

In this module optimal climate settings are discussed in terms of light quality, intensity, (day) length and integral, temperature, humidity, CO2 level, air speed. The relation between the most important processes in the plant and climatical factors will be explained.

Building a vertical farm

In this module you learn everything about building a vertical farm. What factors you should take into account? What are the do’s and don’ts? We can see very high tech farms and also more low tech farms. Between this wide range you can choose systems that fits with your plans, crops and financial possibilities. A company will explain how they design vertical farms and how the control of all climatical factors is done. This will be done in general but also specifically for 2 different locations (preferably locations where course participants come from) with different climates like a cold and dry climate versus a hot and humid climate.

Day 4: Location Signify

Business case calculation

Philips GrowWise is a modern research center based on the Eindhoven High Tech Campus. A tour of facilities (crops and systems) is part of the program. This module will teach you how to calculate their business case based on data and calculations of Philips and partners.

Hygiene and sanitation regulation, certification

Regulation of hygiene and sanitation will be discussed during this module. You will learn about general hygiene practices and why they are necessary. Both plant diseases and pests and human bacterial diseases will be discussed in relation to hygiene protocols and disinfection methods. (Global GAP) Certification is important when selling specific crops grown. This module will focus on the most important subjects of introducing a quality system and how to handle the implementation in your farm.

Post harvest

Plant physiology before and after harvest will be compared, so that becomes clear how to treat the products after harvest. Packing, packaging materials and storage temperatures are part of this module.

For who?

Everyone who is working in or will start a vertical farm. Before participating in this course, you should successfully finish the online course Growing without daylight. Or you have comparable knowledge acquainted via other courses or practical experience. Please discuss this with the course leader.

What can you expect?

Duration of the course in the Netherlands (excl. online part): one intensive course week.

Requirements

The level of the course is BSc+.

Projectmanager Bedrijfsopleidingen

L. (Lamiaâ) Fareh El Btioui

Projectmanager Bedrijfsopleidingen


E: l.fareh@has.nl

T: +31 88 890 37 74

Photo Lamiaâ Fareh

Summary

Date of commencement
01 October 2020
Duration
4 days
Investment
€ 2.795,00
excl. 21% VAT

Price specification

Course price
€ 2.495,00
Catering arrangement
€ 300,00
Total price
€ 2.795,00
excl. 21% VAT
VAT price
€ 550,95
Total price
€ 3.345,95
incl. VAT

Including field visits, course material, lunches, diners (excluding VATT, hotels). 
Please contact before buying your (flight) tickets.

Any bank/administration fees are for your own account.