Launch event

On Friday January 20th 2017, Ghent University, REO veiling and Inagro launched the new Ghent University endowed chair Agrotopia for urban horticulture.

With this initiative they want to present an inspiring framework to stimulate and realize innovative concepts in greenhouse technology and vertical and urban horticulture.

Prof. Jan Pieters, who will be promotor, indicates that the Agrotopia endowed chair wants to address both the spatial problematic the sector is facing as well as the increasing production costs.

“First of all, we will invest on innovations to amongst other allow multiple use of space in the greenhouse. In addition we want to merge greenhouse horticulture with other sectors and functions. To achieve this, the endowed chair delivers a multidisciplinary platform and brings together expertise in a.o. greenhouse construction, climate control, sensors and modelling, plant physiology, plant diseases, microbial ecology and technology.”

As from the fall of 2018 Inagro’s rooftop greenhouse, Agrotopia, at the site of REO veiling in Roeselare will serve as a unique platform to the Agrotopia endowed chair for research on leafy as well fruit vegetables.

“Agrotopia refers not only to top research and research on top of buildings, but also to the West-Flemish tope, working together” says Mia Demeulemeester managing director Inagro.

The rooftop greenhouse indeed offers a unique testing environment close to the producer, which will not only support durable greenhouse horticulture through research innovations but also delivers a demonstration and communication platform, where researchers, growers, technology suppliers and knowledge centres can meet and collaborate.

“That is what urban farming means to me” states Paul Demyttenaere, director of REO veiling, “working together towards a professional and innovative greenhouse horticulture in an urbanized environment”.

Additional reporting (in Dutch)