“What has been fantastic in the past few months is to work with our customers on nutrition and being able to broaden the range of crops we currently have,” said David Farquhar, CEO of Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS) Limited, a Scotland-based vertical farming technique supplier.
Produce R&D efforts
Besides the more general crops, like herbs and leafy greens that are grown inside IGS’ towers, the company is now developing crop recipes to optimize growth for a wide range of fruits and vegetables. The company’s drive to expand its product portfolio comes from a desire to enable sustainable production of the fresh produce, dietary fiber, vitamins and nutrition that are found in diets worldwide.
“Some of the starter plants we have been growing include broccoli, chilies, strawberries, tomatoes, and seed potatoes,” David adds. It’s an exciting development for IGS and the results of the trials are hugely encouraging.
IGS’s vertical farming systems have taken eight years to develop and fine-tune to the point they are now at, explains David, a process that has seen the company invest more than £10 million sterling in R&D. Its Crop Research Centre, based at the James Hutton Institute near Dundee in Scotland, was Scotland’s first vertical farm when it opened in 2018 and provides a base for IGS’s crop science team to work on trials both for customers across the globe and for the company’s own R&D.
The company has made a covenant with the market that it will only grow for R&D purposes, never growing crops for commercial sale. This enables IGS to be positioned as an enabler and facilitator in the global market. To keep it short, the business model is to provide a modular system that is scalable and agile.