SKY HIGH Consortium Agreement

SKY HIGH: Vertical Farming, a revolution in plant production
Generating Urban Food Systems Solutions
SKY HIGH: Vertical Farming, a revolution in plant production
Generating Urban Food Systems Solutions

Program Contact

Dr. John Reich

Dr. Leo Marcelis

Wageningen University

Year Awarded  2021

FFAR award amount   $1,061,576

Total award amount   $6,630,342

Location   Wageningen, The Netherlands

Matching Funders   Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions, Bayer, Bosman Van Zaal, Certhon, Dutch Research Council, Fresh Forward, Grodan, GrowX, Own Greens, Signify, Solynta, Unilever, Van Bergen Kolpa Architects

  • Urban Food Systems

For vertical farming, the sky is the limit

With climate change, urbanization and other threats endangering farmland across the globe, innovations that grow food in cities and other limited spaces are vital to food security. Vertical farming, which grows crops in stacked layers, is a promising option that allows farmers to grow crops in nontraditional spaces, such as vacant warehouses.

Vertical farming provides greater control of climate and nutrition conditions than outdoor or greenhouse facilities. Yet, because of limited funding opportunities there are few researchers adapting crops to make them economical and sustainable in these production systems.

Our Precision Indoor Plants (PIP) consortium is funding SKY HIGH: Vertical Farming, a revolution in plant production to explore favorable conditions for crop nutrients, taste, appearance and shelf life in order to optimize vertical farms. The researchers are also focusing on how crops can be developed to thrive in indoor environments, including how to accelerate the development of crop varieties.

Why this research is important

Crops grown in vertical farming environments have various advantages over those produced through conventional farming:

Growers benefit:

  • Gain new methods to accelerate the development of crop varieties
  • Learn protocols for growing plants in indoor systems
  • Produce greater amounts of crops while taking up less land

Environment benefits:

  • Reduced food waste
  • Reduced use of most resources to produce certain crops
  • Reduced net loss of resources due to low quality produce

Consumers benefit:

  • Access to high-quality, nutritious produce
  • Longer lettuce shelf-life and less leaf discoloration
  • Shorter supply chain

Details About this Research

SKY HIGH’s research focus includes strawberries, potatoes, lettuce and basil. Ultimately, this research is developing crops that respond well to indoor environments and designing vertical farms with favorable conditions for their growth.

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The Latest


Our Insights highlight unique perspectives from across the food and agriculture community.

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PIP is Pioneering Indoor Agriculture Collaborations

John Reich, Ph.D.

Scientific Program Director Bolstering Healthy Food Systems

Feedback Loops & Food Access

Gwendolyn Donley

2019-2022 FFAR Fellow


The latest news and updates from FFAR.

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FFAR Pioneers Vertical Farming to Grow Food in Cities, Other Nontraditional Spaces

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FFAR and AgLaunch Host Convening Event in Memphis to Prioritize Research and Commercialization Objectives for Cropping Systems of the Future

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