Managing a vertical farm (English)

Curriculum Managing a vertical farm

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.

Course outline Managing a vertical farm

Day 1: Location Brightbox Venlo

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

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: Naaldwijk and surroundings

Day 3: Naaldwijk and surroundings

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.

Network possibilities in World Horti Center (Naaldwijk)
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 4: Location to be determined

Day 4: Location to be determined

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.

Interested in this programme? Request a free brochure.

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Any questions? Please feel free to contact me!

Martijn Haas
educational advisor

Contact Martijn
T: 06 11127371 | 088 466 30 30
E: martijn.haas@inholland.nl

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