Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS), an Edinburgh-based supplier of controlled-environment growth products, including a vertical ‘farm-in-a-box’ and retrofit growth stations for low-rise installations, has signed a deal with new vertical farming operator Vertegrow, which was only established in May this year by Martin Dickie, founder of the BrewDog brewery and pub chain.
Vertegrow has chosen IGS’ four-tower system for a new indoor farm to be built at its existing Waterside Farm facility in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, later this year. A 245m² insulated superstructure will accommodate four 9m-high towers alongside a 1,600m² service area. Together, they will provide approximately 1,343m² of growing space, producing up to 70 tonnes of produce per annum when fully operational.
IGS says its plug-and-play vertical farming product offers customers a highly controllable platform, specifically designed to maximise productivity whilst minimising energy consumption and allowing the production of consistently high-quality produce at scale.
The towers, which are expected to be operational in early 2021, will grow a variety of crops which are intended to service the local food supply chain. Vertegrow will work with a range of local customers including retailers, caterers, restaurateurs and other local services, to deliver fresh, nutritious, high-quality produce all year round. This is the first move into vertical farming for the company, which also grows crops including barley and rye in open fields at its existing Waterside Farm site.
“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,” commented IGS CEO David Farquhar. “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,” he continued.
“We were delighted that the IGS platform was selected for this project. It is proof that our rigorous commitment to engineering design excellence and our unique patented systems deliver what customers want – a system that is highly pragmatic, flexible, modular and scalable. We look forward to getting underway with the deployment of our Growth Towers with the Vertegrow team.”
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. We look forward to continuing to work with IGS as we construct the facility later this year.”
IGS was founded in 2013, to develop revolutionary Industry 4.0 solutions in the global agtech and commercial lighting markets. Beyond its vertical farming platforms, it also offers a supplementary lighting grid for greenhouses and poly tunnels. The company says its solutions offer growers a two to threefold increase in yield, as well as 50% energy and 80% labour savings.