The Mission Vertical Farming Project aims to bring urban agriculture to local communities, adding much needed green space and providing food production education. The project design prototypes are scalable, flexible vertical systems that may be replicated around the world in order to grow food where space is scarce. While the vertical farming wall does not intend to replace traditional farming, it fills a void by bringing food production to sites in communities where there is no ground available to farm. The vertical farming wall will act as a hands-on way to educate the urban community about food production, with the potential of transforming individuals view on fresh produce and where it comes from.
While we see applications of our vertical farming wall being applied worldwide, we have narrowed our initial focus to the Mission District in San Francisco, CA. This is due in part to the need for green space in the Mission District, while there is lack of available ground area. Our project proposal is clearly in line with the San Francisco Planning Department’s Pavement to Parks Project and the Mission District Streetscape Master Plan. The project also presents the opportunity to engage schools and community groups to develop programs around the vertical farming walls, renewing awareness of the long history of agriculture in the Mission District.
The Mission Vertical Farming Project combines urban agriculture with living wall technology. While a number of vertical green wall prototypes have been designed and built, there are few viable designs for vertical wall farming. A major difference between the two systems is the requirements of edible plants for sun, water, soil depth, and plant orientation. Our designs for vertical wall farming improve on similar current designs by providing a more durable and flexible structure that responds directly to the plant needs and user interfacing. Integral to our design is a modular form that is supported by a structural system with integrated irrigation. This design can be attached to a structural wall or act as a stand-alone structure.
Our goal is to “cultivate community” by growing plants that nourish us. Food and agriculture have been the basic building block of community for millennia. We hope to bring food production to the urban environment in a fun, inventive, and engaging way. This will act to both beautify the urban environment and serve as a staging ground for community groups and students to interact and learn about growing, harvesting, and using edible plants.
Our scope of commitment goes beyond the design and construction of the vertical farming wall and looks at how it engages the community. Integral to our project is finding sites and community partners that promote the continued sustainability of the project in the long-term. We will actively work with schools and community groups to develop an educational program that maintains the vertical farm, while growing and harvesting the plants. The vertical farm will also serve to connect different partner groups with each other, further promoting community interaction and urban agriculture.
By creating multiple designs for various site and plant conditions, we hope to create a database of potential solutions that are transferable and buildable by different people all over the world. We will utilize the OAN to share our designs and built projects in the hopes that it will inspire others to create their own.