UK: Scientists growing food 'ten times faster' without soil at urban farm

Some 24 billion tons of fertile soil is being lost globally to erosion every year and such is the mounting crisis that academics at the University of Sheffield predict the UK has fewer than 100 harvests left..

An attempt to harness the potential of hydroponics is underway on the border of Sheffield and Rotherham, where a team of scientists are using a disused building at the former Tinsley Infant School to grow a range of fresh produce, from salad to tomatoes, using specialist foams that chemically, physically and biologically resemble soil - a product developed by University of Sheffield PhD student Harry Wright.

Such has been the success of the so-called “urban farm” project to date that scientists have found that they can grow plants up to 10 times faster than in soil.

A public open day at the facility was held on Saturday, where project leader Jacob Nickles, a knowledge exchange associate from Sheffield University’s new Institute for Sustainable Food, explained how the system worked.

Read more at The Yorkshire Post (Ben Barnett)

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