Vertical Farm in Waldau, Kassel

osVVertical

Sustainable practices are pivotal to all areas of exhibition planning and artistic practice in the context of documenta fifteen. The topic of sustainability and the concepts of its practical implementation also play a central role in the education of young people.

The osVVertical project at and with the school Offene Schule Waldau in Kassel demonstrates a practical approach to becoming more climate-friendly: using the example of a vertical farm.

documenta fifteen sustainability project: osVVertical, Kassel, Photo: Nicolas Wefers

Here, students learn about the sustainable cultivation of vegetables. osVVertical is a cooperation between Offene Schule Waldau, GWGpro, Smart Kassel, and the office MOST gartenlandschaften with documenta fifteen.

The students grow the vegetables themselves and, in accordance with the lumbung practice, not only share their harvest, but also exchange their knowledge with each other as well as with the public. What is special here is that the cultivation beds in a discarded shipping container designed by students together with lumbung member Wajukuu Art Project are not laid out flat on the ground as usual, but vertically using the latest agricultural technology from Sweden. This approach is particularly efficient and sustainable and a good example of circular economy.

documenta fifteen sustainability project: osVVertical, Kassel, Photo: Nicolas Wefers

The vertical farm produces as much fruit and vegetables on 30 m2 as on arable land of 6,000 m2. The students harvest each crop seven weeks after sowing throughout the year. The container protects the produce from external influences such as temperature and humidity fluctuations. Afterwards, the cooks use the fresh fruit and vegetables in the school kitchen. This eliminates the need for transportation. Since the air in the container is filtered, the harvested produce can be eaten unwashed. In addition to saving labor, this also saves water.

Given the exceptional productivity of the vertical farm, most of the produce has to be sold to third parties, even though the school feeds nearly 900 students daily. Since most of the plants are harvested with roots, they can be kept in cold storage for up to two weeks.

Healthy eating is already a central part of the concept of Offene Schule Waldau. All food is organically grown. This is made possible by the Mensaverein, which also supports the osVVertical project. GWG Projektentwicklung GmbH (GWGpro) is a subsidiary of the Gemeinnützige Wohnungsbaugesellschaft der Stadt Kassel mbH (GWG) and is responsible for the implementation of municipal building projects. It is currently developing the new building for Offene Schule Waldau on behalf of the City of Kassel, focusing here on the highest sustainability standards. The office MOST gartenlandschaften plans outdoor facilities on a sustainable basis and is jointly responsible for the design of the vertical farm.

The osVVertical project is one of several long-term sustainability projects designed to combine ecological, economic, artistic, and social factors in line with the documenta fifteen concept. Other projects include the cooperation with HessenForst in the Reinhardswald in Hesse as well as the Sustainable Village Project and the Semah Bumi Festival in Indonesia. One Euro of every documenta fifteen ticket sold will go to these sustainability projects.

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