Cultivating Engagement: A Citizen Participation Forum on Vertical Farming

How can citizens shape the development of healthy and sustainable food, and what role should technology play in this process? What methods can engage publics on diverse issues across food, health and sustainability? How do innovation practices promote or prevent the democratization of food systems and address what are seen as major challenges?

Vertical farming is a technologically-enhanced approach to horticulture that has been widely invested with promises and predictions of producing healthy and sustainable food in close proximity to where people live. New technologies often invoke societal concerns, and vertical farming is no exception having been the subject of divergent claims and criticisms.

This project aims to gain a better understanding of hopes and uncertainties around vertical farming among producers, consumers, scientists, civil society groups and wider publics. It will do so by developing a Citizen Participation Forum (CPF) assessing the potential of vertical farming technologies to address some of the major challenges current food systems face. Combining a range of participation methods including online issue mapping, face-to-face dialogue and hands-on ‘makerthons,’ the CPF aims to stimulate broad public engagement with vertical farming technologies and practices.

“Cultivating Engagement” is a research-driven project that involves collaboration between university, industry and NPO partners, and is funded through EIT Food, the newest EIT – KIC (European Institute of Innovation and Technology – Knowledge and Innovation Community). Besides contributing to scholarship on public engagement in (food & agricultural) science and technology, findings will inform business partners and scientists in other EIT Food projects to critically engage in creating, implementing, and learning from public engagement schemes.

Project results :


Project leader(s):
Dr. Mascha Gugganig

09.2017 - 12.2018

Project type:
["Verbundprojekt \/ Consortium Project"]

Funding institution:
EIT Food