Student - June 8, 2016

Students win three thousand dollars with vertical farm concept

Wageningen UR students Pietro della Salla and Susana Prieto got in second place and won $3.000 with their project on vertical farming.

Wageningen UR students Pietro della Salla and Susana Prieto
Wageningen UR students Pietro della Salla and Susana Prieto

Together with three other students they developed an idea for a vertical farm, a farming concept that uses abandoned buildings and factories to grow crops. Their idea was to start a vertical farm in a factory in Iceland. But they bit off more than they could chew.

It started with three Plant Science students who thought it would be a great idea to enter a competition for vertical farming concepts. Pietro della Salla heard from a friend about the contest and convinced Susana and Gil Schramm to participate. But soon after they signed up they found out that it was about more than just having an idea. Susana: 'We didn’t know anything about vertical farming, we just know about plants. It was way bigger than we expected'. So the three student’s brought in two engineers: Santiago Botiá (WUR) and José Manuel Patino (UNESCO).

We all learned way more than we thought we would, marketing, business, I did things I never did before!
Susana Prieto


Concept of how the plants are stacked in the factory
Concept of how the plants are stacked in the factory

The five students worked every weekend on their project: a vertical farm in Iceland based in an abandoned factory. The students had to calculate their expenses, revenue, how much the electricity bill would be and many other things. Pietro: 'The aim was to make our concept as realistic as possible. And it was fun!' Susana: 'We all learned way more than we thought we would, marketing, business, I did things I never did before!'

The $3.000 prize money was divided amongst the group members. Susana is using her share to travel to Mexico to do research for her thesis. Pietro is going to travel to South America to study plants.

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