We are a team of twelve students from Wageningen University and Research. We are from China, Italy, the Netherlands, Greece, and Spain. We have diverse backgrounds in Plant Sciences, Landscape design, Environmental Sciences, Organic agriculture, Biobased sciences, Social Sciences.
We are diverse in culture and academic backgrounds and individually motivated to make real our stimulating ideas. Along with a strong friendship among us, we want to tackle the challenge with a positive attitude.
To face the challenges of food and resource security, as well as well-being in modern China, it is necessary to redesign the environment we are living in. We want to harmonize (peri)urban areas with human and non-human needs. We want to deliver a design that expands on the concepts of sustainability and circularity, while also taking into account social challenges and the future of urban-rural relations.
What we want to achieve
Our aim is the creation of an Urban Farming system model that is (1) realistically feasible and (2) an improvement in the current paradigms in Urban Agriculture.
We view sustainability and circularity as factors of value addition both from an economic and social perspective on food production and consumption. By designing this urban agriculture system, we can bring forward changes and solutions both for the short- and long-term future; and at the same time we can connect tradition and future of Chinese agriculture and urban development.
What are the main starting points of our concept?
An important objective for the entire China is to train the next generation of farmers, including vertical farmers. We want to do so in our greenhouse!
The fast-paced life in modern cities has caused people to increasingly look at things just in front of themselves, ignoring many others. How does rural life look like, how does agricultural production work, and where does food come from?
That's how Viridi was designed. Our greenhouse is conceptualized within the context of the fast transformation of Dongguan and the greater area into an innovative pole. Among the four different floors, the main functions, such as vertical farming, cultural education and social interaction, will be allocated. In this way, the visitors can enjoy an all-around experience of the food supply chain within the same building, from the producers directly to the consumers.
This building will provide the opportunities to enjoy an idyllic shelter from the chaotic life in the city. The place will be the intersection between rural agriculture and urban city life.
What are the main functions of our building?
The effort for circularity culminates to an engineering system that combines innovative technologies perfectly suited for Dongguan. We envision this to be the first step for similar systems to be applied in other areas too.
The Dongguan Urban Food School fosters entrepreneurship and innovation in the city: students can experience different aspects of agribusiness and network within the industry.
The AGRI-art space is the place where food and agriculture in our lives and tradition is celebrated, while having a look at food futures: regenerative design and agriculture, biomimicry, blockchain, AI and food informatics, robotics, cultured meat, 3D-printed food, edible food packaging, etc.
Viridi has three growing spaces, although with different purposes:
-On the ground floor there is a vertical farm for large-scale production;
-On the terrace, the Four Season Greenhouse is a sun-fed, seasonal greenhouse that is inspired by natural ecosystems. Some of the production is, in fact, used for the in-house restaurant and for selling to visitors;
-On the terrace there is also a small garden for social purposes.
'Foodways of China' is a collective space of encounter, and at the same time a market and event area where what is produced can be sold to the visitors. The area revolves around food selling and preparation and it resembles a farmers' market.
What are the unique selling points of our concept?
Multiple growing systems and the Dongguan Urban Food School will allow Viridi to become the agri-food hub of Dongguan, strengthening the whole industry and bringing all elements of food production together.
Through a stratification of jobs, roles and resources, we want not only to create an efficient greenhouse, but also to grow a community as diverse as the potential of urban agriculture itself.
We hope to see Viridi and its visitors shaping the future of agriculture in China!