Indoor Ag-Con’s Las Vegas Agritecture Workshop Hosts Dr. Despommier as Judge in Vertical Farm Design Competition

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UNLV students and industry professionals will compete in friendly competition

Agriculture is going through a transformation that harnesses architecture, technology and urban planning to create vertical farms that decrease resource consumption and re-localize food production within cities.

On March 29 and 30, three teams consisting of students from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Downtown Design Center and urban farming professionals will envision these farms of the future in a workshop that will teach vertical farming concepts in a hands-on, experiential setting.

The event will take place at the historic Fifth Street School in Las Vegas immediately preceding the Indoor Ag-Con, an international meeting of the brightest minds in urban agriculture, agriculture technology and vertical farming.

The event is jointly hosted by the Association for Vertical Farming, Indoor Ag-Con, the UNLV Downtown Design Center and GreenView Global.

Dr. Dickson Despommier, a leading figure in vertical farming, will judge the competition and speak at the event. Despommier is a professor emeritus at Columbia University and the author of The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century. He spent 38 years as a Professor of Microbiology and Public Health in Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia, where he won the Best Teacher award six times. In 2003, he was awarded the American Medical Student Association Golden Apple Award for teaching. He has addressed audiences at leading universities including Harvard and MIT, and he has also been invited to speak at the United Nations.

He will be joined on the judging panel by Maggie Hsu of Downtown Project, a real estate and hospitality company focused on revitalizing Downtown Las Vegas, and by Chris Higgins of Hort Americas, a leading vertical farm supply company.

In the emerging fields of vertical and urban farming there are many lecture-based conferences and events, but the Agritecture Design Workshop is unique because it takes an integrated and experiential approach. The workshop will match architects, landscape architects, hydroponic growers, entrepreneurs, engineers, marketers, designers, sustainability managers and UNLV students to develop design concepts specifically for Las Vegas. The three workshop teams will design projects that demonstrate innovation, sustainability, and the feasibility of an urban agriculture project tightly integrated into the city.

The Agritecture Design Workshop first debuted in New York City in December 2014 where three teams went head to head in a friendly design competition. In New York teams had to choose their own sites. At the Las Vegas workshop, teams will each be given a choice of sites from a selection kindly provided by Downtown Project, allowing participants to work through a design project from start to finish.

Participation in the workshop is free, and those interested can apply to participate here. A public presentation of the workshop designs will be held on the evening of March 30 at 6:30pm. Tickets are now available for $10. If you are registered for Indoor Ag-Con or are a member of the Association of Vertical Farming, tickets are free. For more information about participating in the event, or for tickets to the public presentation, visit: or You can join the Association of Vertical Farming here and register for Indoor Ag-Con at or by calling 775.623.7116.

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Jackie Dennis
The Abbi Agency
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