VertiFarm 2023, photo collage

The VertiFarm 2023

Today I write from the VertiFarm 2023, under the motto "Lets Grow" exhibitors from all over the world have come together at Messe Dortmund to present their companies and Vertical Farming products. This took place the last days of 26-28.09.2023.

Unfortunately I could not be there everywhere due to work, maybe I should really come as a visitor 😀 , so there were from the AVF (Association for Vertical FarmingI work for) exciting sessions and speaker talks, which you could definitely watch.

Already in the run-up I could take a few photos, is just an advantage if you are from the exhibitor team.

In addition to the companies I already knew, which were also present last year, there were a few unicorns that I had not heard of before.

Farmitank is one of them, and the concept is quite ingenious, somehow also reminding of GreenForgethe company that builds a vertical farm by digging vertically from the ground, the concept of vertical farming is not only defined in one direction.
Farmitank goes here the way in the above-ground vertical, but in the form of a silo, as you know grain silos, inside the plants are grown virtually on the inner edge of the silo, to reach the different levels, there is a platform moving up and down, through which you can reach the plants, examine and also harvest.

The idea is good, and even if the concept itself is not so new, it is somehow innovative to come up with the idea of building a vertical farm in a grain silo.
Unfortunately, I couldn't make it in time to talk to the Farmitank exhibiting team and explain a few of my questions.

The idea is good, and even if the concept itself is not so new, it is somehow innovative to come up with the idea of building a vertical farm in a grain silo.
Inconveniently, I couldn't make it in time to talk to the Farmitank exhibiting team and explain a few of my questions.

Another start-up is vGreenswhich specializes in the vertical cultivation of strawberries, the highlight, and I would like to emphasize this clearly, was a VR (virtual reality) experience, with putting on a Meta Quest 2 VR GlassesYou could not move freely (would be on the exhibition area probably also rather badly possible 😉 ), but you could really see the dimensions of the farm.

When asked who created this VR simulation or film for the VR, I learned that a single employee worked on it. Each of the elements was created and animated by hand, one of the highlights to watch. I also thank here Matthias Lindner from vGreens, who told me about the company here. vGreens is also a member of the Association for Vertical Farming. Ps. Matthias, greetings go out to the colleague who has made this mega achievement.


Also I have the Greenhub team from Leipzig, mainly I met with Kay Plat the founder of the start-up. We've known each other for a while and I always like to check out what's new. And so I was able to take a closer look at the indoor grow cabinet from Greenhub and also give a look at the control, I can not reveal much, but the UI has become really chic 😉 , maybe I make it to Leipzig, are only 100 kilometers from my home.

in the picture, Greenhub founder Kay Plat at VertiFarm 2023

in the picture, Greenhub founder Kay Plat at VertiFarm 2023

Another company I found interesting was Celine, this company, according to its own information, is the only one on the market that is able to detect in real time nutrients in hydroponic plants. And for this to be quite accurate, it requires a controlled stable environment, and therefore needs its own air conditioning. I was allowed to get a glimpse of the inner technology, but pictures are obviously not possible here. However, the system itself is intended for larger farms, where the detection of deviations has major financial implications. In short: I can not afford it, and possibly no one who reads this 😀

Unfortunately, I no longer have the name of the two exhibitors in my head, but thank you nevertheless for having received a closer impression.

Celine at VertiFarm 2023

Celine at VertiFarm 2023

In addition to one or the other company, I have also talked with a few VIP personalities, of course, there is also the obligatory fan photo 😀

With Prof. Dr. Mandar Godge After his lecture, I had a deeper conversation about the developments between retailers and producers, i.e. retailers and farmers or vertical farmers, and I also see his fears that large corporations can form monopolies by engaging in vertical farming themselves in order to be a producer themselves and not have to share the revenues with the actual producer. What keeps Amazon and other large corporations from doing vertical farming themselves? You don't need a large area of land to do it, as you do with traditional farming, and there is no reason in itself why companies like Amazon, with Amazon Go in the retail sector, not build our own vertical farms. The vertical farming industry has been around for about 20 years, young enough not to make the same mistakes as others, we must not develop the ignorance to think that we are needed, because the fight against the retailers, we would probably not win. Instead, Mandar Godge urges that we need to work with traditional farmers not to be adversaries ourselves, but to work together to secure our place as producers, and for vertical farming to find its place in the agricultural sector.

On the picture Prof. Dr. Mandar Godge and Petr Kirpeit

On the picture Prof. Dr. Mandar Godge and Petr Kirpeit

With Alessandro Oliveri, CEO of iGroX, a company for LED production from Italy, which is also a member of the Association for Vertical Farming, I was also able to talk briefly and we exchanged information about the current developments. Unfortunately, he was also busy at the show and always in phone calls, maybe we can talk better in the next one.

On the picture Alessandro Oliveri, CEO of iGrox srl and Petr Kirpeit

On the picture Alessandro Oliveri, CEO of iGrox srl and Petr Kirpeit

Like last year, I have had the pleasure of meeting possibly one of the top experts, in person, also this time, thank you Prof. Jasper the Bestwho since last year has been with Planet Farms who works in Italy and was a speaker on the panel at the AVF Summit.

in the picture, Petr Kirpeit and Jasper the Best at VertiFarm 2023

in the picture, Petr Kirpeit and Jasper the Best at VertiFarm 2023

Ingenious innovation without your own trade fair stand

A company, which did not exhibit, but sent 2 employees as guests, has caught my attention and I say that as a trained electronics engineer, of course it is easy to say that one has revolutionized the LED, so of course it brought me a small smile, but after an expert explanation which would go beyond this framework here, how it works and what is done differently, I was as excited, because the LEDs which the company Sylvania Lighting has developed, especially the Special Light Team, shows that it goes further with the development of new technologies, and the more efficient the light output is, the less waste heat there is. Especially with the rising electricity prices are a higher luminous efficiency at the same or even less consumption, thus a real money saver.

Let's see if Sylvania becomes a member, I would be happy, because so more companies from the industry can work with it and be networked. The offer that I or the AVF come to the production plant in Erlangen, I will not refuse at least, my curiosity is too great 😉


Improve your Czech a little bit

A small personal highlight was that I was able to meet 2 women at the AVF booth, who came from the Czech Republic for one day with their company Cooltivation s.r.o (unfortunately no website yet) and told me about their company, which they are currently building up. Highlight because I could speak Czech again after what felt like an eternity^^ and could also tell about AVF. Since they are just building their start-up, I do not want to reveal what they are working on, that will surely everyone can understand 🙂

The coming generation

Another thing, which I did not expect at all, that I could work perhaps nevertheless quite well as a teacher, before the AVF conditions a 6er group of pupils collected itself, on inquiry, whether these already times with Vertical Farming occupied, I experienced that them by a project over it experience, when it concerned like we will feed us tomorrow, but do not know what Vertical Farming actually is, there I told quasi a summary, of hydroponics, aeroponics, how plants grow and thrive with it, how we can ensure that the plants get the optimal nutrients with it and why it is not bad that the plants grow inside, since we imitate the processes of nature and make even better.

I have drawn the comparison here, if we humans have a nice car, a nice house, a great job, then we are also happy, and in principle this also applies to the plants, if PH value, light, nutrients, temperature and humidity are right, then the plants are happy in the optimal range and grow better.

From the grade level I guess 9-10th grade, the girls were not older, and yet they asked how it looks with the prices and who can afford it. Again, I was able to answer and explain that the prices come largely from the cost of electricity, and it becomes cheaper when the price of electricity goes down. To put it simply, it was just a matter of explaining.

I was particularly pleased to see that schoolchildren want to get involved and are showing an interest in new things. I have already passed on my suggestion that we also approach schools in the surrounding area next year and inform them about the trade fair. Because especially in the vertical farming industry, and also in many other industries, you need specialists, experts and people who just want to get started and try something new.

From LinkedIn to VertiFarm 2023

What I had been happy about was Noam Dekel whom I met on Linkedin, in person. I have already exchanged with Noam before the VertiFarm 2023, and also at the fair we talked about various topics around vertical farming, but also about local conditions and ideas for the use of vertical farming in Israel, which as a small country on the Mediterranean Sea, can produce drinking water thanks to seawater desalination plants, but for nature it would be better if less water would be needed for agriculture. The topic of cultural differences was also discussed, a wonderful example of how people from different cultures can communicate and exchange ideas at eye level.

Noam Dekel and Petr Kirpeit at VertiFarm 2023

Noam Dekel and Petr Kirpeit at VertiFarm 2023

Another new acquaintance I could meet at the fair and that was Shahin KhalilovHe is the CTO of Entesk, a company based in Baku, Azerbaijan, which is located on the Caspian Sea. He came with a delegation from Baku and was also interested in establishing new contacts at VertiFarm. Entesk produces among other things the smart irrigation solution Azirrigation for farmers, which provides irrigation suggestions based on local than current environmental parameters for farmers.

While we were talking about vertical farming, we also talked about the topic of energy and economic developments, geopolitics and cultural aspects. I enjoyed talking to Shahin and since we both come from the IT field, there were also some points of intersection. Maybe I'll end up in the region someday, I wanted to visit Georgia anyway, and it wouldn't be far to Baku 😉 I'm looking forward to meeting Shahin.



The best booth was .....

The one from MechaTronixThat is at least my opinion, because even if this small stand could not compete with large such as Bosmann van Zaal or SananBio, it was the equipment, because in addition to a cozy seating, there was also a drinks fridge (later when the stand was occupied, I was also offered a drink, but I gratefully declined, I'm not for sale 😉 ), furthermore, there was a cool lighting and you have also shown strawberry plants in the growing system, I have tried here unfortunately none, but I hope that these were real. Despite the small area, they tried to make it pleasant for visitors and I think they did a good job.

In the picture, Mechatronix Mtx at the VertiFarm 2023, booth

A few team photos (I'm sure there will be a few more in the next few days)

Our accommodation

We were accommodated in the Prizeotel as well as in the Dorint at the Westfalenhallen, whereby I only found a larger desk good in the Dorint, but I personally liked the Prizeotel better. This was more modern and had a nice shower, even if the room was small, I felt very comfortable there and would also prefer the Prizeotel next time. Wi-Fi was free at both hotels, breakfast costs at the Prizeotel, if not included in the booking, separately 13€. What I also found good, there is a floor security, you need the room card in Prizeotel to even get to the floor where your own room is located.

I didn't take any pictures, except for my personal message to the world: "Make life easier for the next one", we already live in stressful times, and through the family business I know the hard work that cleaners have to do, especially in the hotel it is exhausting to pull off and re-cover bed linen, so I am happy to take this work off, and maybe the reader here will also think about making someone else's life easier at the next opportunity.


My personal conclusion

Also this time I enjoyed the work at the fair, even if I was not sitting at the computer this time and listened to the presentations of the speakers, so I could at least bring some people closer to the topic of vertical farming, talk about the advantages and disadvantages, exchange ideas together and now and then walk a little through the fair and take a few photos. There were many more exhibitors than I have photographed here, in the next few days will certainly appear articles at iGrow News and Vertical Farming Daily, which I will then link accordingly here in the article.

And if you were not there this year, maybe it will work next year? I would be happy!



More press articles:


VertiFarm 2023: Shaping Sustainable Urban Farming's Future


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Posted by Petr Kirpeit

All articles are my personal opinion and are written in German. In order to offer English-speaking readers access to the article, they are automatically translated via DeepL. Facts and sources will be added where possible. Unless there is clear evidence, the respective article is considered to be my personal opinion at the time of publication. This opinion may change over time. Friends, partners, companies and others do not have to share this position.

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