“Particularly in the United Kingdom, vertical farming and LettUs Grow can help maximize production on limited land and under the changing, extreme climate. We can help provide an element of stability in the food supply chain,” says India Langley, communications lead at LettUs Grow.
LettUs Grow is a UK-based agtech company that was founded in 2015 and focuses on the design and construction of vertical farms. Since its establishment, LettUs Grow has continued to develop its patent-pending technology, namely its DROP & GROW production system and Ostara software platform.
LettUs Grow’s main product offering is its patent-pending DROP & GROW, a 40-foot container farm equipped with a vertical aeroponic system and software platform Ostara. According to the company website, growers can opt for either DROP & GROW 24 or DROP & GROW 48. In DROP & GROW 24, the container has roughly 24 m2 of vertical growing space and a separate preparation area, making this model ideal for pilot and research projects.
Comparatively, DROP & GROW 48 provides the growers with 48 m2 of growing space by omitting the preparation space. This model is thus ideal for expanding your growing operation as it avoids the redundancy of having multiple preparation areas.
Design and Build service
While DROP & GROW is the company’s flagship product, LettUs Grow also offers design and build services to configure its aeroponic system for custom settings, existing spaces, and unique demands. The Design and Build service begins with a site evaluation, feasibility study followed by facility plans, economic modeling, and construction.
LettUs Grow has already designed numerous custom aeroponic systems, including one with the University of York where the client already had a container available. LettUs Grow simply built its aeroponic system inside the existing container, which has a window on the side and makes vertical aeroponic farming visible to all.
DROP & GROW 48
They have also adapted its system to greenhouse space, having partnered with Harper Adams University among others, including La Serra, to trial different vertical growing strategies in greenhouses, such as propagation and full-crop growth.
“At LettUs Grow, we want to see where we can be the most effective. We’ve thus expanded into the greenhouse space, are working on propagation, and are looking into the full crop cycle,” explains India.
Expanding horticulture in the UK
Despite its fairly active agricultural sector, the UK imports much of its horticultural commodities. This is especially true during the spring months – the hungry gap – during which the availability of local produce is low. As India explains, LettUs Grow can help bridge that gap to ensure a year-round supply of fresh produce.
LettUs Grow is continuously expanding its crop range to provide growers with the tools to grow a variety of crops. Developing the interplay of these tools, called crop recipes, involves three rounds of testing at LettUs Grow’s aeroponic research center. These tests build upon each other and evaluate whether the new crop can 1) be successfully grown from an agronomic standpoint, 2) be successfully grown and commercially viable, and 3) be commercially competitive.
“We want to make sure that our crops grow faster than our competitors’ crops. With aeroponics, we can get 50% faster growth than by other growing techniques,” India says.
Looking ahead to 2022, LettUs Grow plans to continue expanding its crop portfolio, building vertical farms, and expanding into the greenhouse space. The company will also be introducing a new version of DROP & GROW.