Dr Belinda Clarke, Agri-Tech East director:

"Supermarkets of the future could allow you to pick your own fruit and baby leaf in-store"

Is there a business case for wide-scale commercial vertical farming in the UK or will it remain a niche opportunity for high-end restaurants and retail? 

This is the challenge to be discussed by early adopters at the Agri-Tech East conference ‘Bringing the outside in - Innovating for Controlled Environment Agriculture’ next month (19 March). Advances in logistics and the falling cost of LED lighting may enable year-round growing of undercover produce in the UK, but will energy costs and technical issues delay scale-up and integration within the food supply chain?

“We do think there is the potential for indoor farming to be commercially viable and there are some immediate gains for growing crops such as leafy salads in high hygiene environments,” comments Lindsay Hargreaves, MD of Frederick Hiam, a farming and fresh produce business with farms in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. “Growing indoors provides greater control of quality and quantity and fewer inputs of plant protection products."

Read more at cambridgenetwork.co.uk

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