Where is the business? A study into prominent items of the vertical farm business framework

S. Allegaert, E.F.M. Wubben*, G. Hagelaar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


There is scarce public knowledge regarding comparable feasible business formats. This paper develops a Vertical Farm Business Framework to raise our understanding of the major, generic items in the development of Vertical Farms as commercial endeavours. The huge variety of the research objects and the early stage of research into business formats makes exploratory research the suited approach. A review of the related literature is complemented by a validation by 25 insiders from Europe and North America. When it comes to governance and cooperation good partnerships are deemed fitting, especially with distribution centres and specific food sectors. Regarding organization, there is optimism on drastic costs decreases due to advances in lighting, HVAC, and automation. Finally, as part of the enabling environment, the social value of Vertical Farms is not clear, and legal issues were not found to be a major concern, apart from zoning issues. A prominent theme became the need for properly trained employees. In sum, establishing a commercially viable vertical farm remains a complex matter, where strategic decision can benefit from a Vertical Farm Business Framework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-353
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Horticultural Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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