The future of farming with "vertical greenhouse" marvel

The future of farming with vertical greenhouse marvel
Photo: Tower Farms

CambridgeHOK is delighted to be playing a key role in an innovative project that will see thousands of leafy greens, fruiting crops, and culinary fungi grown in a ‘vertical greenhouse’ to supply an onsite restaurant, food hall, cookery school, and local businesses.

The unique project, led by Hampshire-based business, will see plants housed in a dedicated 480 sq m glasshouse facility designed and built by CambridgeHOK, growing in 210 towers, which each stand close to three meters high.

Having been in the planning stages for more than two years, the project has now been granted planning permission, with work to start on phase one – the building of the specialist glasshouse – in the New Year.

Seedleaves are approved UK suppliers and installers of Tower Farms – a growing system pioneering the expansion of both small and large urban farms worldwide. Until now, it has focussed mainly on supplying growing towers and hydroponic seedlings to individuals, as well as building three other Tower farms in the UK.

Their own project, at Applegarth Farm in Grayshott East Hampshire, will include 210 towers, each growing more than 40 plants – producing a broad range of fresh lettuce, herbs, edible flowers, tomatoes, strawberries, and micro herbs.

The plants will be grown aeroponically, which means with only water and nutrients and using just 5% of the water used while growing in soil.

A liquid nutrient solution, made of water and earth minerals, will be fed to the plants from the top of the 2.8m high towers, allowing the solution to cascade down the inside to oxygenate and feed exposed plant roots.

Alongside the towers, a unique space will specialize in producing a range of culinary and medicinal fungi, such as Lions mane, to supply both consumers and restaurants.

This new and innovative approach to food production has seen a surge in popularity in other areas of the world, notably in the Middle East, the US, and Europe.

There are now 300 tower farms around the world, in 50 different countries, using little space or energy – making them ideal for rooftop spaces – and requiring just 5% of the water normal agriculture does. It also requires no pesticides or fertilizers.

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