UNIBO’s Salus Space: Advancing Urban Agriculture through Controlled Environment Farming

The University of Bologna (UNIBO) introduces the Salus Space – Indoor Hydroponic System Demonstration Case as part of the FrontAg Nexus project. 

This initiative embodies the core of the FrontAg Nexus project, showcasing a socio-innovative adaptation experiment that emphasises the practical implementation and impact of advanced agricultural innovations. The SALUS space goes beyond traditional boundaries, seamlessly integrating technology with nature. Supported by UNIBO’s extensive research and expertise, this initiative demonstrates the transformative potential of controlled-environment agriculture housed within a shipping container.

The SALUS Space demonstrates the viability of controlled environment agriculture for urban farming, addressing space constraints and environmental variability challenges. Reducing reliance on traditional farming methods and long-distance transportation offers the prospect of localised fresh produce cultivation, potentially repurposing underutilised urban spaces for agricultural purposes.

The SALUS space transcends conventional boundaries; it emerges as a controlled environment where technology seamlessly integrates with nature. A diverse array of vibrant plant species thrives within this innovative setting. Notably, the project’s distinction lies in its capacity to nurture these crops independently of traditional farming settings.

An array of plant species, including lettuce, rocket (arugula), tagetes (marigold), microgreens, and kale, are cultivated inside the container. The environment is meticulously regulated by LED lights emitting specific blue and red hues to mimic optimal sunlight conditions for plant growth. Additionally, a state-of-the-art cooling/heating system and dehumidifier maintain consistent environmental conditions irrespective of external weather variations.

The SALUS Space Demonstration case transcends mere agricultural innovation; it emerges as a visionary blueprint for future farming practices, particularly in urban landscapes where space constraints and traditional farming methods pose challenges. 

This technology indicates a future where fresh produce is cultivated in every neighborhood, minimising the need for extensive transportation and mitigating the associated carbon footprint. It opens avenues for food production in urban settings, potentially revitalising neglected spaces into flourishing productivity hubs. 


This publication reflects the views of the author only. The European Commission and PRIMA Foundation cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

This project (GA n° [2242]) is part of the PRIMA programme supported by the European Union.


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