So, we asked Chris Nelson why he felt we needed vertical farming now?
Chris explained how he felt that due to the pandemic highlighting food security issues, the initial result of Brexit, the increase in urbanisation at the same time as climate change and population explosion comes to the foreground, and food retailers such as supermarkets reconsidering their supply chains and ability to be able to deliver consistent fresh produce year-round – taking all these issues combined has resulted in the rising interest in vertical farming in the UK along with exponential growth on the global stage.
“There are lots of opportunities in vertical farming and we have quoted more projects this year than we ever have in the past.”
Chris Nelson – Director of GrowStack Technologies.
In further explanation, Chris explained that the initial focus for a lot of CEA (Controlled Environment Agriculture) seemed to be based almost entirely upon leafy greens and microgreens but whilst we still have choice, the market will only tolerate a lack of variety.
“GrowStack are frequently receiving enquiries for farms that will be designed to grow alternative vegetables and herbs, to cut flowers and tree seedlings. Nothing will faze us because it’s just a series of challenges to be overcome. That is the spirit of vertical farming,”
Safe, hygienic, and local
Consumer trends continue to be focused on a preference for safe hygienic food produced locally. With the continued urbanisation of populations, this becomes an increasing challenge for standard agriculture models.
Multi-level hydroponic systems allow this to be achieved.
Shorter supply chains with the latest technology
In the UK and northern Europe, large scale operations can serve specific factories and supermarkets with readily available fresh produce grown using the latest technology. These can be situated close by and potentially grow all year round, so taking away a reliance on long supply chains particularly in winter months.
can also be used built in controlled environments, they can produce fresh produce with low levels of water requirement in hostile environments.
Furthermore, the trend for “Food Theatre” and local provenance within foodservice outlets plays into the advantages offered by GrowStack Technologies solutions. Nothing is more local than that of a multi-level GrowStack unit growing herbs in the corner of a restaurant!
Multi-level growing also allows for a controlled, hygienic growing environment which is able to deliver precise quantities of product daily and can be managed to fit specific requirements. This makes such solutions ideal for the pharmaceutical industry as well as for R&D units for universities.
These trends have driven considerable interest in GrowStack units for development of largescale multi-level growing units both in the UK and Export markets from a wide range of organisations, as well as for standalone small units that can stand in restaurants or be used for R&D research units for universities.