12 Jan 2021

An urban home for high tech horticulture in Australia

RMCG has kicked off 2021 with an exciting new project for the Australian horticulture industry, which aims to assess the potential of emerging production technology and its application in the urban landscape.

Vertical farms, aquaponics, floating farms – these are just some of the many possibilities of high technology horticulture in urban areas across the globe. But are they feasible for Australian growers?

RMCG is excited to lead a consortium in partnership with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and global urban agriculture consultancy Agritecture to answer that very question. The six-month project, funded by Hort Innovation, will assess the potential of emerging production technology and its application in the Australian urban landscape, which will also cover regional areas and hubs.

High technology horticulture and emerging production technology can benefit Australian growers and industry by developing food production and delivery systems that have the potential to optimise yield, quality and supply. Examples of this technology include vertical farm systems, hydroponics, aquaponics, nearly fully automated production as well as rooftop, underground and floating farms.

Project approach

A feasibility study will be conducted to identify the opportunities and challenges for high technology horticulture in urban Australia. It will identify a range of high technology systems and assess their applicability to urban Australia by considering:

  • Regulation and planning
  • Farm input and waste
  • Supply chain logistics
  • Social, environmental and economic aspects.


The project will include a high-level literature review and modelling of the social and environmental impacts. The economics of high technology systems for urban horticulture will also be analysed.

The study is being guided by an industry-led reference group including growers and emerging commercial leaders engaged in urban high technology horticulture in Brisbane and Sydney, members of local city councils and subject-matter experts in protected cropping.

The outcomes of the study will identify future priorities for research, development and extension activities and investment into Australian high technology horticulture in urban areas.

For more information please contact RMCG Senior Consultant Dr Kristen Stirling at or 0488 908 416.

Modular Farms credit Graeme Smith

Image courtesy of Graeme Smith.