A project to convert surplus food into ready meals, a study exploring how vertical farms utilizing controlled agricultural environments could re-localize food production, and a project to grow fruit and vegetables by retrofitting aeroponic technology into redundant buildings have been awarded feasibility funding from a £2.1 million sustainable food production challenge.
The challenge, which is a partnership between Cardiff Council, Monmouthshire County Council, the Cardiff Capital Region Challenge Fund, the Welsh Government, and the SBRI (Small Business Research Initiative) Centre of Excellence, aims to identify and support projects that can harness the potential of land, technology, and people to increase the sustainable production and supply of locally grown food in the Cardiff Capital Region.
Selected from more than twenty funding bids, the three successful bids have all been awarded a four-month feasibility contract of up to £50,000 per project. At the end of the four months, the projects will be assessed, and the most promising will be awarded additional funding to pilot and test prototypes.
Bristol-based LettUs Grow Ltd are specialist in indoor vertical farming and a technology provider for CEA. Their project brings together a consortium of local experts to explore the commercial, environmental and social feasibility of integrating CEA with Welsh supply chains.
Soilessentials Ltd will use its funding to look at the possibility of installing an indoor aeroponics system in the Cardiff Capital Region.
Fairshare Cymru redistributed 750 tonnes of food to charities and community groups in Wales last year. They're the biggest redistributor of surplus food from the food industry in Wales, but they can't currently use all the food they have access to. Rather than waste it, they want to turn it into ready meals or storable products at scale, which they can make available to their clients. Their feasibility study will look to find out whether it is possible to use food and drink manufacturers' facilities to manufacture products from surplus food.
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