inFARMING®: building-integrated agriculture

Combining urban food production in sheltered cultivation with new concepts, innovative process technology and materials research

Building-integrated agriculture

Plants are supplied with water and nutrients in a time-controlled manner.


Rooftop greenhouse based on the inFARMING® concept on the new Jobcenter Oberhausen.

Project goals: linking agricultural production and building infrastructure

The sustainable supply of regional food to the steadily growing urban population is an enormous challenge. In particular, there is a lack of land for the cultivation of food crops on site. New concepts for urban food production are in demand. With the inFARMING® concept, Fraunhofer UMSICHT has developed a promising approach that links production systems and building infrastructures.

Facades, roofs and even entire buildings can serve as agricultural land in cities. Fraunhofer UMSICHT is further developing building-integrated plant production under the umbrella brand inFARMING®. Existing technologies of greenhouses are combined with new concepts, innovative process technology and material research. We meet the specific requirements of building-integrated agriculture and realize technically, economically and ecologically advantageous solutions. The inFARMING® concept is holistic, it takes into account not only production but also transport and marketing. Accompanying life cycle assessments can highlight the positive effects on the environment.

Project benefits: resource-saving and land-efficient agriculture

Cultivation in special plant production systems integrated into urban centers represents a resource-saving and land-efficient option for agriculture. inFARMING® focuses e.g. on the use of existing roofs or entire buildings and building infrastructure for the production of food. A special aspect on the concept is that the building serves as a resource and material flows are closed. For example, building-integrated agriculture uses gray water and waste heat for plant cultivation. This and the targeted use of nutrients significantly reduce energy consumption, CO2 emissions and resource consumption. The products are grown locally and in the immediate vicinity of the consumers, so that long transport routes are eliminated, and the plant products can be offered fresher, in better quality and at more stable prices.

In order to further advance the integration of agriculture in cities and metropolitan areas, Fraunhofer UMSICHT is developing new materials, cultivation systems, specific light strategies, circulation processes for nutrients, water and energy, as well as logistics and marketing concepts together with partners from industry and business. In order to be able to achieve the best possible results for all parties involved, we conduct feasibility and implementation studies as well as acceptance and participation studies in parallel.

Result: ALTMARKTgarten Oberhausen

With the ALTMARKTgarten on the roof of the new job center in Oberhausen, a center for sustainable regional food supply has been created, which is based on the inFARMING® concept and is unique in this form in Germany. Fruit, vegetables and co. are grown in three different climate zones, and Fraunhofer UMSICHT conducts research and development in a fourth climate zone.

Project partner of inFarming®

  • City of Oberhausen
  • Oberhausener Gebäudemangement GmbH OGM

inFarming® – Agriculture in another dimension

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Funding information

Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit + Nationale Projekte des Städtebau


Duration: Construction Project: December 2015 to December 2019
R&D projects ongoing since December 2019