An agri-tech company looking to progress vertical indoor farming has secured £1 million in their efforts to feed the world's growing population.
The UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, has awarded LettUs Grow a grant of £399,650 to lead a £700,000 project, alongside a further £90,000 grant from the Green Challenge and several additional research grants.
The Bristol-based startup also raised £460,000 from ClearlySo, Bethnal Green Ventures, and the University of Bristol Enterprise Fund II.
This funding has allowed the company to scale operations and drive forward product development to access the rapidly growing global market for sustainable farming technology.
The Bristol-based startup said it wants to help increase food resilience and security in the face of climate change.
By 2050, humanity must increase food production by 70% to feed over 9 billion people.
The company says existing methods of agriculture will not be enough to feed this global population with 25% less farmland, degraded soil quality, and an unstable climate.
Alongside this, most ‘fresh’ produce is imported out of season, often travelling hundreds of miles to reach consumers and resulting in colossal waste throughout the supply chain.
To help solve this problem, LettUs Grow has designed a patent-pending aeroponic system that has shown growth rate increases of over 70% compared to existing solutions for leafy greens, salads and herb production.
In aeroponics, instead of using soil, plant roots are suspended in a nutrient-dense mist. This results in faster growth rates than conventional hydroponics, consistent and predictable yields, and a 95% reduction in water usage versus open-field farming.
LettUs Grow doesn’t use pesticides, and seeks to reduce its environmental impact of delivering food from farm to fork by siting farms in rural and urban locations.
Charlie Guy, co-founder and Managing Director of LettUs Grow: “This injection of private and public funding into the company enables us to accelerate our innovative products to market and build one of the most technically advanced facilities for indoor growing in the world.
“The global agri-tech industry is very exciting right now, all stemming from the necessity to improve the economic and environmental sustainability of food production.
“We are fielding enquiries from all around the world from food producers and farmers who want to experience the benefits of our technology across a growing range of crops,” he said.