When new urban farming setups are created they integrate either individual proprietary solutions or standard horticulture components to set up grow spaces that are originally meant for large-scale and commercial operations. Urban farming can come in very diverse forms, contexts, and locations, and building those setups usually is quite unique in many aspects.
Aponix from Germany has made this their mission: Design and provide urban farming components that can be used in modular ways to help urban and vertical farm designers to be creative in their setups, save space and make spectacular appearances.
The first solution that is available in Version 3 is the 3D-NFT or ‘vertical barrel’ that works like a normal soilless gutter/NFT system but in the shape of large vertical cylinders. The single barrel units are assembled level by adding a variable number of levels each providing more standard 2” net pot grow spaces. The units can be run in standalone mode like a US TowerGarden but also chained in a way that the units drain the nutrient solution to a central reservoir. Aponix also provides an alternative reusable PlugPot, that can be used instead of the standard 2” net pots. They are robust and reusable for young plant plugs and also provide an optional metal plant trellis insert to grow larger crops like vining or fruiting crops.
The newest solution is a modular living WallSystem that provides a central module that is mounted like shingles in rows and columns. Irrigation can be organized flexibly through multiple levels or alternatively in a recirculating way also with drain and fresh nutrients in between rows or also drain-to-waste setup. The plantable part is represented by its own independent removable Pot-Insert. The module has a reservoir function that can be used for stormwater retention. The system can be used indoors and outdoors and also as a dispenser for living plants.
Components to set up urban farming grow space.
Both systems are already used by users globally for very diverse purposes including larger ideas like participatory farming locations with sharing economies, educational setups to teach horticulture or just provide more plants in vacant areas of your urban area.
Vertical Barrel / 3D-NFT
Aponix regards all their elements as being infrastructure components and mainly works with integration and product partners who want to integrate the components into more individual and finished and targeted solutions that they market independently.