Peter Ranscombe goes behind the scenes at the north-east’s first vertical farm on the outskirts of Newburgh, Aberdeenshire, to see how technology is giving farming a helping hand.
Walking along the path towards Vertegrow’s vertical farm near the beautiful Ythan estuary in Aberdeenshire, the collection of green metal sheds doesn’t look any different from the modern barns and workshops you’d find on many Scottish farms or estates – then the tower comes into view.
Made from the same green-painted metal as the surrounding sheds, the 33ft high structure doesn’t look any taller than a large grain store or slurry tank and probably wouldn’t attract a second glance from any passers-by.
Graeme Warren, director of Vertegrow, whips out his mobile phone and uses an app to control the equipment made by Edinburgh-based Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS) and brings one of the trays into view.
After two-and-a-half years of planning and the creation of a pilot farm inside a shipping container, the full-scale tower has been up-and-running since the middle of October, with trials taking place to grow basil, chard, pea shoots, rocket, and mini coriander.
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