Producing food in a sustainable way is coming increasingly under the spotlight. That, along with the need for future food production security in a post-Brexit world, is leading to the development of innovative forms of farming.
An Edinburgh based firm, Shockingly Fresh, is seeking investment to develop five vertical farming sites across the UK, including one in Scotland with many more to follow.
Hopefully ethical investors will get behind this initiative, providing a more efficient, eco-friendly alterative form of production and a level playing field for producers outwith the EU.
A natural next step' Saturn Bioponics founder and chief executive Alex Fisher, also a director at Shockingly Fresh, said: “The crops are cleaner, the season is longer, there is less disease and pest risk and they are easy to harvest. Consumers are well-accustomed to strawberries grown under cover and this is a natural next step.” Unlike many vertical farms which use fully enclosed systems with heating and artificial light, Saturn employs a naturally lit approach. Shockingly Fresh chief operating officer Garth Bryans said: “A fully enclosed farm can achieve a higher annual yield, but when you add in additional lighting and heating costs as well as the high capex [capital expenditure], their typical costs per kilo are higher than a naturally lit set up can achieve. “We have identified a significant market – particularly around the early and late season ‘shoulder months’ – which is currently filled by imported crops from Europe. Our sites will enable British growers to compete on a level field.”