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Fred Searle

BY FRED SEARLE

Scotland set for new vertical farm

New facility will be built in Aberdeenshire in late 2020 following deal between Intelligent Growth Solutions and Vertefarm

Scotland set for new vertical farm

The farm will grow a range of products for the local supply chain

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Scottish indoor agritech specialist Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS) has entered a partnership with vertical farming operator Vertegrow to build a new four-tower system in Aberdeenshire in late 2020.

The 245 m2 insulated superstructure, which is expected to be up and running in early 2021, will accommodate four nine-metre-high towers alongside a 1,600 m2 service area on Vertegrow’s site at Waterside Farm in Aberdeenshire. 

This will provide approximately 1,343 m2 of growing space, delivering up to 70 tonnes of produce a year when fully operational.

This is the first move into vertical farming for Vertegrow, which currently grows crops including barley and rye in open fields.

Vertegrow was established through Steadman Partners, the UK-based private investment office set up by BrewDog co-founder Martin Dickie. Located in Scotland, Steadman Partners has a wide range of interests and investments throughout the UK and internationally. 

IGS supplies state-of the-art “plug-and-play” vertical farming technology to indoor farms, developed on its Dundee site next to its partner, The James Hutton Institute.

According to IGS, its plug-and-play system offers a highly controllable platform, designed specifically to maximise productivity while minimising energy consumption and allowing the production of consistently high-quality produce at scale.

The towers will grow a variety of crops to service a range of local customers including retailers, caterers, restaurateurs and other local services, delivering produce all year round.

IGS chief executive David Farquhar said: “This is an exciting step for IGS and for Vertegrow as we set out to deploy a new vertical farm for a new operator in this space. 

“With proven experience in traditional farming, and extensive involvement, through its owners, in the food and drink sector, we are confident that this will bring a new and top-quality offering to the local market. 

“Such re-localisation of the food supply chain is a feature of post-coronavirus planning we are seeing all over world.”

Graeme Warren of Vertegrow added: “Vertegrow is delighted to be working with IGS on this innovative project as we position our farm business to address the challenges of the modern food supply chain. 

“We have spent considerable time identifying the right partners and systems, and the IGS platform stood out as a quality solution which could be configured for our needs. 

“Growing quality, nutritious food in North East Scotland will allow us to reduce food miles for our customers. Combined with our renewable energy sources and rainwater harvesting, the efficiency of the IGS system is a key part of our ambition to grow crops in a carbon neutral way.”

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