Vertical farming has been hailed as a major development for agriculture, capable of delivering sustainable and secure food production with significant environmental and efficiency benefits.
The emerging sector, which involves crops grown in stacked indoor systems, has enjoyed a flurry of activity this year and could become a key component in the long-term mix of growing systems.
One of Scotland’s first large-scale vertical farms is being developed in Aberdeenshire and the sector is forecast to grow significantly over the next decade. More than £1.4 billion has been invested in vertical farming globally since 2014.
On 11 November, ONE Food Drink & Agriculture will explore the vertical farming revolution in a North East Scotland Food & Drink Network webinar with the people at the forefront of its development in the region: Graeme Warren of Vertegrow and Polly Purvis from Intelligent Growth Solutions.
This event will explore the latest developments in indoor farming and how vertical farms can expand the range of crop output, providing year-round supplies for the retail, hospitality, catering and food processing sectors. Whether you are looking to diversify further, extend your growing season, investigating new opportunities or are an investor or tech developer, do not miss this fascinating session.
The North East Scotland Food & Drink Network is delivered by Opportunity North East (ONE) in partnership with Aberdeenshire Council.
Vertegrow is an early adopter of vertical farming technology on a commercial scale and is building one of the first large scale vertical farms in Scotland. The investment represents a diversification of their existing arable farm at Waterside in Aberdeenshire, which grows barley and rye for brewing and distilling. Under the banner “Plants, People, Planet”, Vertegrow is focussed on growing in a way which is both environmentally and financially sustainable.
In Aberdeenshire, the climate means that only a limited number of crops are commercially viable outdoors and many of the fields at Waterside lie unused between September and March. With around half of the UK’s food being imported from abroad, Vertegrow is focussing on growing crops which can reduce Scotland’s reliance on imported crops and long supply chain. It is for this reason that Vertegrow is not seeking to compete with crops which can be grown outside in Scotland, but is instead focussing on crops which are imported from warmer climes. Growing these crops locally creates skilled jobs in the local economy and benefits the planet by reducing food miles, eliminating pesticides usage and reducing water usage. With food then grown in a far smaller area, more marginal farmland can then be returned to alternative uses such as wetlands or forestry areas.
The need for shorter, visible supply chains has been important for some time, but has been thrown into sharper focus in 2020 with the issues exposed by the current pandemic and with Brexit having the potential to cause further disruption. Vertegrow is seeking to address these challenges whilst also applying the benefits of the vertical farm to develop a crop mix which is tasty, fresh and nutritious.
Scottish based business Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS) has developed one of the most advanced vertical farming systems, which harnesses many of the technologies that underpin the fourth industrial revolution, to create much more sophisticated growing environments.
Plants are grown in growth trays, suspended vertically one above the other in ‘growth towers’, enabling a range of crops to be grown in parallel, offering significant flexibility and allowing for just-in-time growing and year-round delivery. This form of farming is also environmentally beneficial, removing the need for pesticides and insecticides, at the same time as ensuring zero emissions and highly efficient fresh-water use.
Your privacy matters to us so if you want to find out more on how we keep your data safe, view our Privacy Notice or talk to ONE direct.
Opportunity North East Ltd
11 Queens Gardens