Aberdeenshire is on the forefront of Scotland’s experiments with vertical farming.
Martin Dickie, one of many founders of brewery and bar chain BrewDog, created an experimental indoor farm in a transport container on his household’s 300-acre arable farm close to Ellon.
Indoor farming isn’t merely about producing unique meals nearer to dwelling and out of season, but additionally about harnessing renewable vitality, as Peter Ranscombe finds out.
The trial farm covers practically 130 sq. toes unfold throughout two trays, and has been used to develop herbs and leafy greens, in addition to experimenting with strawberries and chillies.
The warmth from the LEDs is sufficient to hold the temperature inside a Mediterranean-like 20-25°C vary, because of thick insulation.
Energy to run the diodes comes by way of a renewable vitality tariff.
“The transport container sits in a much less productive area for rising crops,” defined Graeme Warren, director of Vertegrow, the corporate arrange by Dickie’s funding agency, Steadman Companions, to run the undertaking.
Mr Warren added: “Transferring into vertical farming was an choice that Martin and I started discussing three or 4 years in the past, whereas we have been taking a look at the way forward for farming in Scotland and methods to develop meals extra sustainably, reasonably than flying stuff in from the Mediterranean or North Africa.
“Realistically, we’re not going to compete with an Angus strawberry grower in the midst of July, however we wouldn’t strive to do this – we’re focusing the enterprise on crops which might be in any other case troublesome to develop in Scotland, and so are imported, or rising native crops like delicate fruit within the winter to displace imports.”
Vertegrow is utilizing the teachings discovered in its transport container to construct a 33ft tower on the farm.
The tower is predicted to be accomplished in August and may have 50 trays, permitting it to provide round 10 tonnes of meals yearly.
Salad leaves and herbs grown within the transport container are being bought to native eating places and retailers, and the corporate has spoken to the principle meals wholesaler for BrewDog’s bars as a possible buyer for crops from the tower.
The corporate is constant to take a look at one of the best ways to energy its bigger vertical farm.