The Final Symposium gave consortium partners and other guests the opportunity to learn about the HiPerGreen’s team achievements and the various outputs the programme delivered.
Upon arrival at the World Horti Center (WHC) at Naaldwijk, guests were greeted by the HiPerGreen team. From there, they were invited to join and network with the rest of the attendees and the press at the lobby. The event, which was complete with over 70 guests, started after lunch and coffee and took place in the WHC main lecture room. Cock Heemskerk, head of the HiPerGreen project and lector on Robotica at Inholland University of Applied Sciences, officially opened the symposium with a welcoming speech where a special attention was given to the HiPerGreen consortium partners. Among the audience present in the room were several growers involved in pilot projects conducted by HiPerGreen, such as Ter Laak and Hazeu Orchids. After a few more overall status updates regarding HiPerGreen’s progress since the last symposium held in April, Cock gave the floor to the HiPerGreen team.
Progress, achievements and impact
The HiPerGreen programme, which stands for “High Precision Greenhouse” farming, is a subsidised research and educational project aiming to bring value to horticultural growers. It was made possible by the support of SIA RAAK. Examples of value generated by the HiPerGreen programme during its two years of existence are: new innovative projects stimulation, partnership between small and large horticulture players, opportunities for practical education (internships) that in turn brought new knowledge to the industry, etc.
Supporting Cock Heemskerk in this ambitious project are the HiPerGreen core members Tom Kerney- Mitchell, Lucien Fesselet and Sheelagh Bouvier. They all three took their turns in front of the audience and presented a summary of their contributions to the HiPerGreen programme.
- As a biology researcher for HiPerGreen, Tom summarized the efforts that the team made in plant monitoring (ranging from growth monitoring and prediction, chamber testing research
- to delivering fusarium maps to growers). Additionally, Tom also gave his reasons for choosing to work on certain crops over others and explained why efficient monitoring was important (and attractive!) for a more sustainable future in agri- and horticulture.
- Lucien, who is project manager at HiPerGreen as well as the CTO of Applied Drone Innovations, took the public through the team’s technology fails, trials and successes over the two-year programme. An example of failure was the attempt at using a readily available thermal cameras but failed to be reliable over extended periods of time in greenhouse’s harsh environment. Examples of successes were the improved rail system and the new battery swapping docking station for the drone. Lucien highlighted the fact that failures were not necessarily synonymous with disappointment in the context of HiPerGreen. This is because the team and Inholland interns could gain practical knowledge and, in the event of partnerships with companies, continue to expand the consortium’s network. As a matter of fact, both successful and failed projects usually lead to new relevant activities and helped direct the team’s focus and work.
- Sheelagh, market researcher for HiPerGreen, shortly explained that she conducted desk research, field visits in greenhouses, interviews with growers and IP research. She pointed out that understanding growers’ needs and gaining insight knowledge difficult to obtain was highly useful to guide the team’s efforts and recruitment choices in the right direction. Her reports made it possible to validate (or reject) assumptions and select the most needed solutions for end-users. This is how the team knew why focusing on orchids economically made sense. They also knew on which other plants (e.g. Anthurium, Chrysanthemum, etc.) to work on and which services were in high demand (e.g. growth monitoring and prediction, etc.)