February 4, 2021 9:55 am Published by

Is it an outdated concept, or is it newer than we think?

Climate sometimes dictates the opposite to which the world is heading towards. Globalisation means demand wants a bit of everything, from all over the world. Indoor farming allows agriculture to provide all year around, even crops that are not traditionally grown in a specific location. We have discussed the history behind it all before, now here is a guide for 2021 and what is happening lately. Indoor vertical farming – though we have established to be less popular in Europe,- is seeing a huge increase in market value, for 2021, this shows a growth of CAGR 21% for Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA).

UK based Vertical Future has recently announced its partnership with Heck Foods in building its first on-site vertical farm at the Heck HQ, North Yorkshire. The usage of this is especially useful for Heck’s vegan and organic ranges, to lead the market towards a more eco-friendly and sustainable future. Growing fresh produce in a fully controlled environment allows us to ‘play god’ with flavours, aesthetics, and other characteristics – this is because we control all of the different variables associated with plant growth.” says Jamie Burrows, CEO of Vertical Future. Indoor farming in the UK for 2021 means sustainability without compromising the taste of the foods we love. 

Controlling the environment requires many tools and the optimisation of several factors. Derby based Light Science Technologies provides leading technology in providing indoor sensors to detect key areas such as light, water, air, temperature, humidity, oxygen and soil, thus allowing the monitoring of indoor climate. Recently, the company has managed to secure part of the governmental fund of £90 million towards innovative technology in boosting agricultural productivity. If this wouldn’t be sufficient, the company has also been awarded £250,000 in Science and Technology into Practice competition funding, as part of UKRI’s Transforming Food Production. Simon Deacon, CEO of Light Science Technologies has said “To be selected is confirmation of the urgent need for more sustainable, productive and cost-effective solutions in farming.” So, indoor farming in the UK for 2021 also means cost-effective farming for the country. 

Covid-19 has caused significant disruptions in food production and distribution, and notably, indoor farming has suddenly become a key tool for countries. Similarly, the UK has called upon its indoor farmers to fill gaps in supply issues of imports. East Yorkshire specialist CambridgeHOK, has recently noted this issue, and started working with Harvest London, to provide herbs and greens straight to restaurants. London partners have now been able to literally get a taste of vertically grown fresh produce grown locally, to share it with their customers first hand. Jason Thether, project manager for CambridgeHOK has said “It has been a very rewarding to work with a grower dedicated to ensuring food is grown much closer to customers and the point of consumption, helping uphold the quality of product and reducing food wastage.” This operation is set to greatly expand to other areas of the UK, which means that indoor farming in 2021 also brings fresh produce to restaurants.

To sum up, 2021 predicts growth in sustainability, eco-consciousness, waste management and better solutions. If anything, the UK needs its own innovation in indoor farming even more than before, and we can definitely see this in effect, be it on farms, supermarkets or restaurants.

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