Controlled Environment Agriculture is a vibrant sector that is attracting significant investment. Our event on 25th February is an opportunity to explore its feasibility for different sectors, review the latest technology and be inspired by some of the pioneers. To get you up to speed we have created an overview of CEA with comments from across the ecosystem.
Light Science Technologies (LST) has secured Innovate UK funding to develop an ‘all in one’ sensor for vertical farming. It will measure light, water, air, temperature, humidity, oxygen and soil to enable monitoring and control of the growing environment.
“If food security and the damage the conventional food supply chain does to the environment weren’t a priority before COVID, they absolutely are now,” says Johnathan Ransom, CEO of Square Mile Farms.
There is growing interest in the Middle East for agri-tech, particularly in controlled environment agriculture; algae-based biofuels; precision agriculture and agricultural robotics – areas where Agri-TechE members have considerable strengths.
Autonomous growing systems in the UK have attracted funding from the Government’s Transforming Food Production programme and tens of millions are being invested in a new training and demonstration facility but can CEA help drive social change?
“There’s a skills shortage for protected cropping,” Jock explains. “We’re looking to create a vibrant protected cropping industry in the UK by licensing our large-scale vertical hydroponics facilities… and our customers will also require skilled operators to manage these facilities.”
Johnathan Ransom of Square Mile Farms started with the concept of ‘flat pack farms’ for urban areas and now, through its Office Farming model, is bringing vertical, urban farms to the workplaces of big businesses to help them achieve their sustainability and employee wellbeing goals. The company is opening a crowdfunding round.
Vertical farming and controlled environment farming will feature in a forthcoming Agri-TechE event
Hydroponics company Phytoponics has just completed a £500,000 equity financing round. The company specialises in Deep Water Culture systems, where plant growing modules are kept oxygenated by built in aerators and serviced by a computerised nutrient control system. A major produce grower, Edward Baarda Limited, has become the first commercial grower in the UK to deploy Phytoponics technology at scale.
LettUs Grow, an indoor farming technology provider, is fast-tracking the building of two vertical farm modules in the city of Bristol during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Innovate vertical farm will produce fresh food in 10 days and will donate the fresh produce to those in need in Bristol