Textiles: key in next generation farming? – Presented by Pieter Heyse, Centexbel

Textiles: key in next generation farming? – Presented by Pieter Heyse, Centexbel at the Vertical Farming Conference which takes place on June 28, 2017, at Villa Flora, Venlo, The Netherlands.

While the demand for high quality, low impact food is rising; arable land close to market is declining. Novel farming techniques are implemented such as closed loop irrigation and LED lighting, though one seems to rely on traditional horticulture substrates. Water retention, quality consistency, recyclability and ecological footprint are downsides of today’s substrates and we feel the textiles may offer new solutions for next generation farming. Textile-, building-, environmental- and ornamental plants research groups in Belgium have joined forces to evaluate textile alternatives for plant substrates for green walls, but the developed materials may well be adoptable in agriculture.

About Pieter Heyse
After training in Bio-Science engineering (2003) I started a PhD (2008) in plasma coating and developed an in-line enzyme immobilization method. New challenges where found in textile coating and finishing at Centexbel. I focus on smart textiles, responsive coatings, bio-active surfaces and novel applications in building, architecture and horticulture.

About Centexbel
Textile Research and Testing Center. As a membership organization we offer an extensive range of activities to the textile industry, including Research & Development, testing, certification, consultancy, and training.

About  Vertical Farming Conference 
The Vertical Farming Conference is part of the first global Innovative Food-Agri Event – a two-day event (Jun 28-29, 2017) that includes 4 dedicated conferences and an exhibition:

Scope: The continually-growing world populations, the global trend to urbanisation, climate change and pressure on natural resources are key drivers for policies on global food security. Vertical farming is an innovative methodology for vertical cultivation of agricultural products, which can also realize true zero-mile city food supply. Vertical farms can be built in new or existing buildings and provide significant benefits in environmental sustainability and human health, minimizing the need for water and nutrients, and eliminating pesticides and fungicides, which are no longer needed.Vertical farming and urban agriculture, if designed and implemented appropriately, could offer sustainable and innovative solutions for improving food security.

What new business models will be successful, and will new players disrupt the traditional farming landscape? How can we feed more people on limited agricultural land, with limited resources? How can we best use space, light and logistics for an increasingly urban population? What can zero waste and low energy technologies contribute to food production in an urban environment? How to identify and develop innovative methods for sustainable food production? The conference will answer this kind of questions

Focus topics:

  • Available technologies (LED lighting, sensors, tiered growing systems, Big Data, Machine Learning/ Artificial Intelligence, etc)
  • How to deal with change (from traditional farmer to vertical farmer)
  • Cooperation / Sharing Information
  • Recipes
  • Public Skepticism / Consumer Response
  • Robotics and many more…

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