Growing crops indoors could be key part of UK food security, researchers say

The new project aims to make this kind of farming more affordable
The new project aims to make this kind of farming more affordable

The development of controlled environment agriculture and vertical farming technologies needs to accelerate to help boost UK food security, researchers say.

Scientists at Aberystwyth University have started a new project to research vertical farming, the process of producing food by growing it in stacked layers within controlled indoor environments.

This method helps farmers to produce more on the same amount of land and reduce the environmental impact, and to avoid the future challenge presented by extreme weather events.

However, the vertical farming sector currently faces significant challenges as it transitions from technological infancy into the mainstream.

The new project aims to bring together experts from industry and academia to make this kind of farming more affordable.

Dr William Stiles, from Aberystwyth University, who is leading the project, said vertical farming could be a key part of future food production systems.

He said: "We know we need this technology – it’s vital to tackle potential food insecurity because of our changing climate.

"One of the aspects we are looking at is the ability to switch food production into controlled environments at speed.

"We need to look at the technology and work to make it affordable and articulate a road map of what that future could look like.

“It remains on the cusp of revolutionising food production, particularly for items too challenging to grow in this country’s existing agricultural system.”

The Vertical Farming project is led by Aberystwyth University and also involves Cardiff Metropolitan University, Swansea University and Vertikit Ltd.