Human Habitat, a Copenhagen-based urban design lab, thinks it has solved one of the problems nagging urban food production—limited space—with its Impact Farm, an easy-to-transport and -assemble hydroponic grown garden that’s designed to help rescue urban communities from their fresh-produce scarcities.
“We wanted to make urban farming even smarter,” Ronnie Markussen, one of Human Habitat’s founders, told Collectively.org, a website that reports on new ideas for the urban environment. The goal, he went on, is to increase food security in cities, lower the ecological footprint of food production, create jobs, and easily adapt to changes in the urban landscape.
“We wanted to reconnect people to food by giving them a green space that brings nature back into our cities,” said Human Habitat’s cofounder Mikkel Kjaer.
All of the construction components for Impact Farm, along with an instruction booklet, are stored and shipped in a flatpack container. When unpacked, the container includes an assembly kit of pre-made materials that become a two-story vertical, soil-free, hydroponic farm that covers 538 sf.
Construction takes about 10 days. And the structure can just as easily be disassembled and moved to another location. “The foundation of our design is C2C [cradle-to-cradle] and the circular economy,” the company states. “We use materials that are either re-used or designed to circulate within the production circle.” The whole structure is designed to be self-sufficient in terms of water, heat and electricity by harvesting sun and wind, and collecting rainwater. Future farms may adopt aquaponics.
Impact Farm is designed to create an economically sustainable business model that ensures resource-efficient local food production, green jobs, and increased local economic activity. The facility can grow greens, vegetables, herbs, and fruiting plants within its frame.
Currently, a prototype is being tested in Copenhagen’s Norrebro neighborhood, and Human Habitat’s Kjaer and Markussen intend to offer their product for sale to large cities in the United States and other parts of the world.
Circulate News and Collectively.org report that the innovators envision a number of different buyers of the farm, including housing co-ops, restaurants, schools, and municipalities.
Kjaer and Markussen estimate that the Impact Farm—which is meant to be a temporary structure—could produce 3-6 tons of food per year commercially, depending on crop combinations. The founders told Collectively.org that a larger, community-driven project—such as one seeking to produce vegetables, leafy greens and fruit for distribution to schools, kindergartens and nursing homes—could expect to produce up to just over 6 tons per year.
Initial retail costs are still being estimated.