While vertical farming might seem more familiar in urban contexts, it has in fact got significant potential for development in North Wales. In particular, existing farmers understand supply chains and markets for selling food, and often have access to agricultural buildings which can house vertical farming units. North Wales also boasts many high-end restaurants, benefiting to a large extent from the tourism industry, and as such creates a demand for high-value fruit and veg, which can be easily and efficiently grown through hydroponics.
Why vertical farming?
Hydroponics can use as little as 10% of the water used in conventional agriculture, and this increased water efficiency could allow crops to be grown successfully in times of drought, such as the summer of 2018, where Welsh farmers suffered serious losses. As the impact of climate change becomes more noticeable, more such periods of drought are highly likely in the near future. There will also be increased intensity of rainfall, which could lead to waterlogging and crop-losses from anoxic conditions. In the longer term, rising sea levels will reduce the land available for agriculture, which poses a real threat to our food security. Our scheme will help position food production in North Wales to be more resilient, and open another door for farmers, businesses and restaurants looking for strategic ways to diversify.
Tech Tyfu is a project delivered by Menter Môn. It has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.