A new vertical farming system is being developed in Southwell. The system, which grows vegetables, salads and fruit, stacked vertically and without the need for soil, is being designed and engineered by scientists at Nottingham Trent University, in partnership with Henley Associates.
“We are designing and engineering prototypes before carrying out a detailed feasibility study,” said Chungui Lu, professor of sustainable agriculture at the university’s school of animal, rural and environmental sciences.
“We urgently need to develop new methods to enable intensive and sustainable crop production. We need an innovative container farming system that can be manufactured at low cost, is easy to install, unaffected by climates and seasons and can produce high yields with high-quality crops with a significant reduction in carbon footprint. It’s also important to reduce reliance on imports, particularly given the UK’s exit from the EU.
“Each container is capable of producing three to five tonnes of crops a year. Using novel semi-mist culture methods, this will be an advanced, energy-efficient, and carbon-neutral vertical farm for on-site use at retailers, schools and other organizations. They are creating two vertical farming units — one about the size of a shipping container and the other about half the size — which will act as an initial proof of concept, paving the way for more like them to be built for and used by retailers, caterers, local authorities and schools.
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