Community-oriented Environment with Farmwall
Feature by Jyqa Patano
The demand for fresh, sustainably-grown food has skyrocketed in recent years, and in heavy, urban environments, this can be hard to come by. Concrete, metallic cities continue to expand and, while there has been a positive movement towards including and preserving green spaces in downtown areas, these spaces are usually not used to grow natural food. The team at Farmwall addresses these environmental, social and market issues, they have combined food production, design, and healthy, modern living to combat climate change and pollution.
While vertical gardens are not new, the ag-tech start-up is focused on creating indoor vertical farms – or ‘Farmwalls’ – with the use of aquaponics technology to grow and store microgreens, herbs and leafy greens. This provides both fresh produce to the consumer and lessens the possible harm to the environment by removing the need for packaging waste. Farmwalls can also be installed in underutilised metropolitan spaces such as parking lots and rooftops to provide high-value crops that are not treated with sprays and chemicals. This is especially valuable for the service and hospitality industry, where local businesses can reduce their output of non-biodegradable waste, and biodegradable waste can be used as compost for the plants.
Restaurants can grow food that is suited to their menu, and chefs can ensure that their ingredients are fresh and full of flavour as ‘food miles’ are removed from the equation.
Since its conception in 2016, Farmwall has developed its workshop in Alphington and has crowdfunded its first three vertical farms. Cofounder Geert Hendrix explains that the mindset behind the horticultural innovation is based on a passion for food and a dedication to creating “a beautiful, healthier environment for ourselves” when it comes to designing living spaces. Hendrix and Farmwall co-founder Serena Lee have tapped into the needs of their local neighbours perfectly: as cities like Melbourne rapidly expand, they grow at the expense of green, open regions. Farmwalls are valuable in reducing the environmental impact of urbanization while also enhancing the quality of contemporary lifestyles through food and wellbeing.
The Casper & Casper team view Farmwall as a critical answer to climate change that both businesses and individuals can benefit from. They are an extremely productive resource for the urbanite, from the moment the plants establish their roots to the instance they are served on a plate.