ÇWith a social ambition as well, the pilot project installed at the Lisbon City Museum was taken to Alvalade, where it will involve communities in the Murta and São João de Brito neighborhoods, as explained to Lusa Margarida Villas-Boas, one of the founders of Upfarming.
“Our technology, when compared to traditional horizontal agriculture, produces 10 times more, it has a great advantage for the climate like ours, in southern Europe, it saves 90% of water. We know that the management of water resources in Portugal a of the most priority issues in terms of climate change in the future, “said one official.
The ‘upfarms’ are vertical rotating vegetable gardens measuring six meters high, consisting of 22 shelves 2.4 meters wide and “that rotate slowly throughout the day, with more than 800 different vegetables in production, producing around 100kg per month, which is enough to feed 40 people, “as explained Bruno Lacey, also mentor of Upfarming and founder of Urban Growth, a social enterprise that creates and maintains green spaces in London.
According to the official, the rotating movement of the vertical tower “not only allows photosynthesis to be carried out with sunlight, but also allows the shelves to be accessed by everyone, from children, the elderly or people with reduced mobility”.
“We can assemble in this vegetable garden many more plants than in a traditional vegetable garden and as it is vertical we can have this type of vegetable garden in the city center, we have a very simple system, ‘low tech’ and with little energy to run, but a much larger harvest that in the normal system, “said Bruno Lacey, noting that currently there are nine types of plants growing.
According to Margarida Vilas-Boas, an Upfarming is a project that has at its core an idea of ”empowering the communities” where they operate, so that they become “self-sufficient and with tools to organize themselves”.
As a solution, vertical gardens excel “by reducing the ecological footprint and increasing the nutritional value of vegetables”, since there is a base of proximity agriculture with the vegetables to be produced meters away from where they are consumed.
According to those responsible, this type of agriculture does not use pesticides, does not deplete the soil, eliminates food and water waste, it also has an energy reduction, and may have a production 10 times greater than if it were traditional agriculture. area used by the tower.
For the architect Tiago Sá Gomes, one of the three project mentors, an Upfarming emerged last year as “a utopian project” for which they were planned to think of Lisbon as a city of the future and how “it could become a sober city at a level to feed “.
“We started to think about what void we could occupy the city, what spaces we had available to implement these technologies and how to serve the community”, explained Tiago Sá Gomes, a people who have “an economic and social angle of added value”.
Known that it can be a futuristic device, Tiago Sá Gomes also mentions that, “if used in the right way, it can be a tool that allows people to unlock a series of prejudices they have with these technologies of the future”, enabling them to and should replicate in other locations in the city.
Created under the Lisbon City Council Bip-Zip program – Neighborhoods and Priority Intervention Areas, with the joint support of the Alvalade Parish Council, an Upforming was created with the aim of promoting food self-sustainability through vertical horticulture for consumption by local communities , focusing on the Murtas and São João de Brito neighborhoods, in Alvalade, where four vertical mega towers are installed.
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