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Vertical Farming Academy

Vertical Farming Academy is a project by the Association for Vertical Farming (AVF). The goal is to empower as many people as possible to get in the wondrous world of Vertical Farming. Vertical Farming Academy is:

  1. An open platform where everyone with an internet connection can get access to free information and teaching materials about Vertical Farming
  2. An inspiring educational space for the exchange and sharing of knowledge and experience in the field of Vertical Farming

Do you want to learn about the many different facets of Vertical Farming such as Aquaponic, Hydroponic or Permaculture?  Go to the Get Started page.

Do you want to join the AVF education team and help spread the knowledge about Vertical Farming? Contact us now.

AVF EDUCATIONAL INITATIVE: BUILDING VOCATIONAL TRAINING FOR HYDROPONIC TECHNICIAN

ERASMUS + PONICS VET:
Hydroponics Agricultural Technician

Context
The core topic of this initiative is to develop and provide training courses for an emerging professional profile: the HYDROPONICS TECHNICIANThe demand for high-efficiency systems in agriculture is a global trend that needs to be supported with training courses for young farmers. Developed in response to a lack of knowledge in applied hydroponic technology, this initiative will increase farmers’ commercial viability by allowing them to find the expertise they need to retool their farm and generate additional income through hydroponic growing systems.

The other core topic of this initiative is to create important new job opportunities for young people. In order to provide solutions for the Green Economy, we are aiming to address shortcomings in the availability of skilled labor in this sector, while improving competency of the hydroponics industry at a transnational level. PONICS VET (Vocational Education and Training) is an Erasmus+ project funded by the European Commission and the state education development agency of the Republic of Latvia. The main demographic target is composed of young (18-25), decentralized farmers coming from rural and semi-urban areas in partnering countries.

Objectives
This initiative will create and implement a training course for Hydroponics Technicians, to be replicated across Europe, thanks to the application of ECVET: the European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training. This model, if implemented successfully, will become a blueprint for the rollout of the program in all markets internationally. The blueprint will be particularly effective in regions where there is a strong demand for this type of growing system and a lack of training opportunity for young farmers to obtain the necessary expertise.

The AVF’s Role
The AVF will be responsible for the coordination and development of the pilot test phases, as well as implementing all project activities, including workshops at a local level in the Benelux. The AVF will play a key role in creating up-to-date content, including course information provided by the horticulture sector and AVF members, drawing on years of professional experience at the operation and supply chain level. Additionally, the AVF will be tasked with developing online tools and supportive resources that draw from applied professional experience in the field. By engaging with our members, we will make this project a resounding success.

Questionnaire and Raffle Opportunity
In order to evaluate the actual interest and position of such a proposal in the context of market needs, we have created a comprehensive questionnaire for student technicians that have an interested in the subject. We encourage interested parties to please provide us with this important feedback by sending the completed questionnaire below. By filling out the questionnaire, you are automatically entered into our raffle –  we will announce one winner from the raffle to join us on our tour of the Brightbox facilities in Venlo, NL.

 

Timeline:  The initiative began in February, 2018, and is scheduled to be completed within 24 months.

Partnership
In total, there are six partners in this initiative, coming from different EU countries, each with different responsibilities and backgrounds.

Partner 1: Project Coordinator
Our project coordinator is the Department of Environmental Engineering and Water Management of Latvia University of Agriculture represented by Dr. sc. ing. Ainis Lagzdiņš.

Partner 2: Quality Manager
Our quality manager is Eurocrea Merchant Srl (Italia), represented by Elisa Chiesa, who also wrote the official application form.

Partner 3: Online Developer/Dissemination Strategy
IDEC, from Greece, is responsible for developing the online platfrom and e-learning tools, including the website. IDEC is represented by Olga Anagnostaki. They will also work alongside BIC Innobridge to develop a comprehensive dissemination strategy/

Partner 4: Dissemination strategy
BIC Innobridge, from Bulgaria, will be responsible for the initiative’s dissemination strategy, in partnership with IDEC. This will include the website, facebook page, newsletters and linkedin page.

Partner 5: Content Developer/Activity Coordinator
Association of Vertical Farming. As mentioned above, we are responsible for content development, coordinating the professional input of the Benelux and implementing pilot tests and workshops. We are represented by Tom Zoellner.

Partner 6: Information and Analytics 
zemniekusaeima (Latvia) will be involved in all project activities that involve the collection of information from the main target audience.

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