The world’s first nursery and vertical farming startup for endangered tree species was started by the Leipzig Palms and Urban Greening Camp project.
There are also good news during the crisis, such as the creation of a successful startup for urban greening, green and clean technologies combined with innovation and knowledge management. Urban agriculture and vertical farming as well as plant cultivation with hydroponics is traded by futurologists as the future of agriculture. This was also a reason to develop an extra Urban Greening Camp in Leipzig years ago and to build it up since 2020. In the run-up, the first tree and plant species have already been cultivated, including particularly endangered species. Herbs and medicinal plants will be cultivated in further grow rooms which are in preparation. There is actual no vertical farming company worldwide who combines biodiversity conservation, urban farming, tree cultivation and species protection. It is also a model project and pilot for various innovative developments — for a more ecological farming and sustainable forestry worldwide, we call it Ecosystem Restoration Systems.
The greening camps will cultivate many native plants and important trees for agriculture and forestry. Cities will be supplied through home improvement stores and garden centers. The camps will simultaneously serve education and training, development and research. Urban and vertical farming is being taken very seriously in some major Asian cities, and complete greenhouse buildings (Urban / Vertical Farming Towers) are even being planned. With sufficient support, we can also realize a vertical greenhouse over several floors in Leipzig. The Urban Greening Camp will not only cultivate plants under artificial light, but also with direct daylight. Innovative solutions and developments in the field of aquaponics, hydroponics and optics will be developed and tested – barrels, canisters and water tanks are already available. A suitable building has already been occupied, and initial talks have been held with the owner. It is not just about endangered tree species, vegetables or a few herbs, but about professional greenhouse facilities, storage and logistic systems – which are also needed for some important species conservation projects. The Urban Greening Camp is a center for biodiversity and species conservation, not only locally or regionally but internationally! Many species conservationists, conservation organizations, botanists, botanical gardens and environmentalists have already been informed and invited. Berlin and Leipzig has many flat roofs, these should be used much more for rooftop greening and roof gardens.
The Urban Greening Camp and Leipzig Palm Project is a platform for cultural, socio-economic and scientific exchange, online as well as directly on site. Active participants are welcome to join the innovative developments and projects. The garden market and tree nursery will cultivate not only palms, but also other important plants such as herbs, ethnobotanical and medicinal plants. Endangered tree species and important flowering plants for bees are also in the program. Permaculture, urban farming, community and urban gardening are not just trendy terms, they are global movements that can make cities more livable and environmentally friendly. In principle, the allotment garden movement which started with the poor gardens and allotments in the 19th century is the first urban gardening movement. For years we have been supporting the movement and cities on urban greening issues. Kindergartens, schools and universities also have the possibility to establish allotment gardens on their premises, talked with a lot of people about how to establish more horticulture, community and rooftop gardens in inner cities.
Since 2016, the founder of Greening Deserts has been developing projects such as the greening and research camps for sustainable reforestation, greening, green and clean technologies (cleantech and greentech). Species protection, climate protection, nature conservation, environmental protection and especially sustainable actions as well as economic activities are important tasks of the future ventures. Ecological education and environmentally conscious actions are also important points on the Global Greening Agenda developed by Oliver Caplikas together with colleagues from the EU and UN over the years. The international Greening Act and the new Green Deal have already been successfully implemented in some countries. It is about an honest and conscientious transformation of environmentally harmful economic sectors, the reduction of global overproduction and the improvement of consumption and environmental awareness of societies and the world population as a whole. That is why many innovative projects have been founded over the years, successful campaigns and initiatives have been carried out worldwide. Many people and organizations got inspired and followed the good example.
The crisis has set back some developments and projects, but brought others forward. Like the new Urban Greening project in Leipzig, which is currently focusing on innovative plant cultivation, storage and cooling systems – especially with regard to green building, sustainable architecture, energy storage and economical water management. All of this will be incorporated into future vertical farming solutions and systems that will be developed at the Urban Greening Camp. Solar, wind and water energy applications will play a crucial role. A research facility on a larger roof could show that green roofs and solar systems are possible at the same place and time, for which the Agrovoltaik project was founded. Another important topic is the education and increased promotion of facade solar systems, hydrogen energy storage, transparent solar technologies and Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWT). Very interesting in this context is the combination of highly efficient processes for hydrogen production from solar and wind energy. It is so innovative like facade greening and solar facades for cooling and heat storage. Energy efficiency and energy storage plays a special role in the urban cooling and urban greening process. Insulation materials made of hemp and hemp wood are further innovations that are being promoted particularly strongly in Canada and Austria. Germany should not lose touch in many respects.
The founder has informed many international institutions and universities about the potentials, especially in the field of building technology and energy storage solutions. In the future, buildings could be efficient energy storage devices and decentralized power plants; it is the future of a truly sustainable energy economy and more economical use of natural resources. Facade greening and photovoltaic facades can also protect against high heat and store heat. Urban greening in general can help cool cities and, of course, provides fresh air. More light-colored surfaces, such as lighter asphalt and concrete are also a good option; in New York and other cities, roofs have already been painted white to cool buildings. Greening cities and urban regions is key to urban cooling and thus global cooling.
We invite interested investors, strong partners and sponsors to join the further project development. In late summer, the first round and official meeting of interested parties will take place. Representatives of the city of Leipzig, Halle, Dresden, Berlin, Hamburg and other interested cities are also invited. We are looking forward to a successful start of the new startup and a greener future. Check also Greening Deserts other innovative projects like the Greenhouse and Recycling Ship! Together with other Startups we develop(ed) mobile greenhouse solutions so like greenhouse, solar and water containers which can collect and filter rainwater. We want to establish desalinization plants and applications for coastal greening and reforestation. Years ago we published some great concepts to use nature-based solutions like bamboo for loosen hard soils, to filter sea water and to improve the groundwater levels.
Gardening and farming products, vertical farming facilities and artificial lights (LED, LEC, HID or CFL) can be tested, we have enough rooms to expand and to test. Manufacturers and sponsors are welcome to send us their products for testing and presentation.
Big thanks to the colleagues from Max Planck Society, New York and Toronto University for showing some support during the years — thanks going also to all the other institutions and organizations who don’t ignored the information letter. To all interested parties, welcome on board! You are always welcome to visit the camp in future. Your friend of nature from Leipzig in Saxony, Germany. Oliver G. Caplikas