Indoor crop growing technology to be used worldwide

From the left, Ilektra Alma Fronista (Coventry University Enterprises), Justine Chadwick (CWLEP Growth Hub) and Stuart Green (V-Farm)

A Coventry horticultural company has developed a hi-tech system to grow crops indoors.

V-Farm has spent the last seven years creating a vertical farming concept by using hydroponic technology (the process of growing plants indoors) through a mobile rack structure, fitted with trays, lighting and ventilation equipment.

The firm based on the Binley Industrial Estate is a spin-off of European manufacturer and distributor of indoor plants HydroGarden. It says the technology can be used worldwide, from a rooftop in Canada to a warehouse in Hong Kong, due to the adaptable equipment.

The business secured a £10,000 Proof of Concept grant, which forms part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Businesses Support Programme which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

A match funded grant was awarded at a rate of 40% with V-Farm’s 60% contribution.

Stuart Green, the CEO of V-Farm explained: “We wanted to put the years of experience from HydroGarden towards making an impact on food production by starting to use vertical farming techniques to develop the technology to grow food in countries where maybe space or transport are an issue.

“We believe our food production technology produces better quality produce because less nutrients are being lost to ship it across oceans and it is building towards a greener, more sustainable future.

“The Growth Hub has helped us reach our ambitions by developing the equipment which we have spent the last seven years researching as well as securing patents now that we are in a position to commercialise V-Farm.

“We have already supplied units to Brazil, Australia and China and we will be fully launching V-Farm towards the end of the year.”

Justine Chadwick, account manager at the CWLEP Growth Hub, said: “One of the many ways we assist SMEs in Coventry and Warwickshire is by supporting their innovative ideas to help with their growth plans.

“V-Farm’s new urban farming idea has been brilliantly developed and now manufactured here in
Coventry to maximise areas throughout the world where food can be grown.
“It is also reducing our carbon footprint which will help businesses reach their net-zero targets.”