The indoor farming sector has seen its fair share of turbulence since the energy price crisis first took hold. For those new to or just starting out in the industry, there are a dizzying array of complex concepts that go into understanding the impact energy sources have on the efficiency, profitability, and sustainability of their operations.
The options available might feel overwhelming, but through all the disruption, those in Controlled Environment Agriculture are finding ways to remain resilient. Being adaptive and resourceful is going to be the key for growers of all disciplines to prosper in the sector. The information is out there, but accessibility to information is often a barrier for those looking for guidance in the industry.
LettUs Grow has collaborated with the UK Urban Agritech (UKUAT), a members association for the CEA industry, and District Eating, low carbon horticulture, and agriculture specialists to create “A beginner’s guide to energy in CEA.” This comprehensive guide looks to break down the challenges indoor growers are faced with when making critical decisions on their energy uses, ensuring the information is easily accessible and relevant for those across the sector.
The guide has also been peer-reviewed by members of the UKUAT to ensure it encompasses hyper-relevant, up-to-date information in every area of CEA. and to provide those new to the industry a solid foundation in understanding the impacts of energy on both their business models and sustainability initiatives.
Mark Horler, Chairman at UK Urban Agritech, said, “As an industry association, UKUAT is often a first port of call for prospective entrepreneurs looking to establish their own farms. Too often, we still hear from them that it is incredibly difficult to get started and to find reliable information in those crucial early stages. It is our purpose to actively nurture and encourage the growth and expansion of our sector and to lower barriers to entry. So we are delighted to be able to bring together the expertise of organizations in our membership, and across our wider networks, toward those goals.”
India Langley, Food Systems Research & PR Lead at LettUs Grow, is a core contributor to the guide, specializing in the environmental impacts that energy sources have on our natural surroundings. India commented: “One of the core goals at the heart of LettUs Grow is creating a sustainable food system by empowering others. A pure focus on technical solutions will only get you so far, equally important are knowledge transfer and a collaborative culture to catalyze and facilitate innovation. Providing information and education from experts in the controlled environment sector brings so much value to growers and business owners alike that will allow our sector to flourish.”
Faye Tomson of District Eating has seen the energy landscape change drastically for indoor growers and hopes the guide will empower those new to the industry to make the right choices for their businesses. “The biggest change we’ve seen in our industry in recent years is the huge increase in energy and heat prices. Growers and businesses alike are looking for more reliable sources of heating and power and ways to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. By identifying sources of waste heat and renewable energy near potential growing sites, growers and businesses have the opportunity to access a stable source of low-carbon energy at a lower price. This guide enables people entering the industry to see the variety of energy options available. By helping businesses and growers find greener, cheaper, and more reliable heat and power sources, we can ensure a thriving horticulture industry.”
“A beginner’s guide to energy in CEA” is available to download for free here.
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